This page provides information for patients who have been advised by the hospital to use St Mark’s formula electrolyte drink. Instructions for making the drink and how to get the ingredients needed are also included.

About St Mark’s formula electrolyte drink

The drink is used to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through diarrhoea or high output stomas. Electrolytes are natural substances found in the body which need to be kept in balance to maintain good health. They include sodium, chloride and bicarbonate.

St Mark’s drink is easily absorbed in the bowel and is often given to patients whose bowel cannot absorb other fluids well. Your doctor will advise you how much normal fluid you can drink in addition to your St Mark’s drink. It is important to keep to this advice.

Making up St Mark’s formula electrolyte drink

Use a double ended medicine spoon to measure the amounts into a measuring jug. Make up a fresh solution every day with:

  • Sodium bicarbonate powder 2.5g (1 heaped 2.5ml spoonful)
  • Glucose powder 20g (6 times level 5ml spoonfuls)
  • Table salt (Sodium Chloride powder) 3.5g (1 level 5ml spoonful)
  • Make up to a total volume of 1 litre using fresh tap water
  • Stir well until all the powder is dissolved

The taste of the drink can be improved by keeping it chilled or by adding a small amount of fruit squash (lemon or lime flavouring is most effective).

Any flavouring used must be added before making up to a total volume of 1 litre.

The drink should be sipped throughout the day to meet the prescribed amount. If you are unable to manage the full amount of the drink then please contact the person who prescribed it for advice. Any unused solution should be discarded after 24 hours.

Ingredients needed

Ask your GP to provide a prescription for:

  • Sodium bicarbonate BP powder 200g
  • Sodium Chloride BP powder 500g
  • Glucose powder 450g x 4

Alternatively, you can buy the ingredients from your local pharmacy or supermarket as it may work out cheaper for patients who pay prescription charges.

Sodium bicarbonate powder is the same as bicarbonate of soda. Sodium chloride powder is table salt.

Contact information

Stoma Care Team Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Tel: 0300 422 6702

Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm

Stoma Care Team Cheltenham General Hospital

Tel: 0300 422 4363

Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm

If your call is not answered on the above numbers, please leave your name, contact details and a brief message. Your query will be dealt with the next working day or at the first opportunity.

Printable version of this page

St Mark’s formula electrolyte drink GHPI0247_02_23 Department: Pharmacy Review due: July 2025 PDF, 187.7 KB, 3 pages
Reference number GHPI0247_02_23
Department Pharmacy
Review due July 2025