What is Lactulose?
- Lactulose is synthetic (man-made) sugar solution used to treat constipation and complications of liver disease (hepatic encephalopathy).
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Uses of Lactulose:
- Hepatic encephalopathy
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How does Lactulose work?
- Lactulose acts as a laxative which draws water into the intestine after breaking down. This softens the stool and relieves constipation.
- Lactulose also acts as an acidifier and removes ammonia from the blood thereby improving symptoms associated with Hepatic encephalopathy.
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How to Take Lactulose?
- Lactulose can be administered orally as well as rectally for treating liver disease. Improvement is faster when taken rectally as an enema for liver disease.
- When taken orally, it can be administered with or without food. Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses) while taking Lactulose.
Common Dosage for Lactulose?
- The recommended initial dose for Lactulose in constipation patients is 15-45ml (1-3 sachets) daily. Once the desired results are obtained, maintenance dose is 15-30ml daily.
- For adults with hepatic encephalopathy, the recommended dose is 30-45ml taken 3-4 times a day.
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When to Avoid Lactulose?
- Lactulose should be avoided or used with caution in following patients:
- Patients with allergy to any of its components
- Patients who are lactose intolerant
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients with galactosaemia (condition in which galactose cannot be processed by body)
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Side-effects of Lactulose:
- Common side effects with Lactulose include:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle cramps
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Effect on organs?
- No adverse effects on any organs.
Reported Allergic Reactions?
- Allergy to lactulose is very rare. Signs of allergic reaction include:
- Rashes/itching of skin
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Loss of consciousness
Drug Interactions to Be Careful About
- It is always advised that the patient must inform the doctor of all the drugs/over the counter products/vitamin supplements being used along with Lactulose.
- All the possible drug interactions might not be listed here. Few important drug interactions with Lactulose include:
- Aluminium hydroxide
- Sodium bicarbonate
Shows Effects / Results In:
- The effects can be observed following 1-2 days of oral administration
Storage of Lactulose
- Stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight and heat.
- Keep medicines away from children and pets.
Pro Tips When Taking Lactulose:
- Lactulose contains sugar as its primary ingredient so it should be used with caution and under strict monitoring in diabetic patients.
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Frequently asked questions
Is Lactulose addictive?
- No such tendency has been reported.
Can I have Lactulose with alcohol?
- Interaction with alcohol is unknown.
Any particular food item to be avoided?
- No such interaction with food products seen.
Can I have Lactulose when pregnant?
- Lactulose can be used in pregnant women if the potential benefits justify the risks involved.
Can I have Lactulose when feeding a baby?
- Nursing mothers can use it under the advice of a doctor.
Can I drive after taking Lactulose?
- Lactulose doesn’t affect your ability to drive.
What happens if I overdose on Lactulose?
- Lactulose should not be administered in more than recommended dose or for longer duration as it may lead to increased blood sugar levels
What happens if I take expired Lactulose?
- Taking a single expired dose may not cause any major adverse effect. However, the potency of the medicine may well have been reduced.
What happens if I miss a dose of Lactulose?
- Always administer the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But, if it’s already time for the second dose– do not take double the dose to make up for the missed dose.