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Saline is a custom pharmacy compound often comprised of sodium chloride in water. Saline is perhaps one of the most widely used compounds in the field of medicine and has been utilized for over 175 years. The uses for saline are almost endless but some of the more widely known are as follows: wound cleaning, intravenous treatment of dehydration (due to gastroenteritis, diabetic ketoacidosis, and more), to dilute other injectable medications, and for removal of contact lenses. Saline nasal sprays are perennially popular as they provide needed moisturization and help remove mucus blockages.


Saline has no standardized usage requirements or directions in general. Your doctor will provide specifications and directions for usage specifically catered to your condition and health status. Saline comes in various forms for delivery from oral powders and solutions to oral tablets and more, including intravenous and injectable forms as well. Consult with your doctor for more information on how saline will be effective for your treatment and how to utilize it in whatever form you are prescribed.


Saline, in its various forms, can cause some unwanted side effects in patients. Not every patient or user will experience side effects, but as side effects are possible, you should familiarize yourself with them; ask your doctor to discuss what to watch for. Some common side effects seen with saline are listed below.

Possible Side Effects from Normal Saline Injection:

  • Redness
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Swelling at Injection Site

If any side effects are increasing in intensity and/or lingering, see your doctor.

Severe Side Effects from Normal Saline Injection:

If you experience anything severe, get medical attention immediately.

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Accelerated Heartbeat
  • Joint Pain
  • Rash
  • Fever

Severe Side Effects from Saline Flush:

See your doctor immediately or get prompt medical attention at a qualified medical facility if you experience any of the following:

  • Accelerated Heartbeat
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Hoarseness
  • Joint Pain
  • Joint Stiffness
  • Joint Swelling
  • Irritation
  • Redness of Skin
  • Swelling (eyelids, face, lips, hands, feet)
  • Tightness in Chest
  • Shortness of Breath

Other Possible Severe Side Effects:

If you experience anything severe, get medical attention immediately. A few more of the many possible severe side effects are listed below. Talk to your doctor for clarification on side effects and learn how to respond if you experience any.

  • Heart Failure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Intraventricular Hemorrhage in Neonates
  • Fluid Retention
  • Electrolyte Abnormalities
  • Reaction at Injection Site
  • Kidney Damage


Do not use saline unless you have consulted with your doctor. It is important for her or him to know your complete medical and drug usage history.

Contraindications for saline are often decided on a case-by-case basis. Talk to your doctor and discuss all possible contraindications.

  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA