Comparison of enteral and parenteral methods of urine alkalinization in patients receiving high-dose methotrexate

Jamie A. Rouch, Bradley Burton, Alix Dabb, Vicky Brown, Amy H. Seung, Katharine Kinsman, Matthias Holdhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose Hyperhydration and urinary alkalinization is implemented with all high-dose (HD)-methotrexate infusions to promote excretion and prevent precipitation of methotrexate in the renal tubules. Our institution utilized enteral alkalinizing agents (sodium bicarbonate tablets and sodium citrate/citric acid solution) to alkalinize the urine of patients receiving HD-methotrexate during a parenteral sodium bicarbonate and sodium acetate shortage. The purpose of this study is to establish the safety and efficacy of the enteral route for urine alkalinization. Methods A single-center, retrospective, cohort study was conducted comparing cycles of HD-methotrexate using enteral alkalinizing agents to parenteral sodium bicarbonate. The primary objective was to compare the time, in hours, from administration of first inpatient administered dose of alkalinizing agent to time of achieving goal urine pH. Secondary objectives evaluated total dose of sodium bicarbonate required to achieve goal urine pH, time from start of urine alkalinizing agent until time of achieving methotrexate level safe for discharge, and toxicities associated with methotrexate and the alkalinizing agents. Results A total of 118 patients were included in this study, equally divided into two cohorts based on parenteral versus enteral routes of administration. No statistical difference was determined between the two cohorts regarding time to goal urine pH (6.5 h versus 7.9 h, P = 0.051) or regarding time to methotrexate level deemed safe for discharge (63.5 h versus 62.5 h, p = 0.835). There were no significant differences in methotrexate-induced toxicities. Conclusion Our study found enteral routes of urine alkalinization to be a viable alternative to the traditional parenteral sodium bicarbonate, especially during parenteral sodium bicarbonate and acetate shortages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • methotrexate
  • urine alkalinization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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