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- What is lactulose, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for lactulose?
- Is lactulose available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for lactulose?
- What are the side effects of lactulose?
- What is the dosage for lactulose?
- Is lactulose safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about lactulose?
What is lactulose, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Lactulose is a man-made sugar that contains two naturally occurring sugars, galactose and fructose. It is not digested in the intestine like other sugars so that it reaches the colon where bacteria digest it and thereby alter the composition of the stool.
Additionally, lactulose is used to treat hepatic encephalopathy, a loss of brain function and change in mentation that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood. Bacteria in the colon digest lactulose into chemicals that bind ammonia that is believed to be the toxin that causes hepatic encephalopathy. The binding of ammonia prevents ammonia from moving from the colon into the blood and also draws ammonia from the blood and into the colon. The bound ammonia then is removed from the body in the stool.
The FDA approved lactulose in March, 1976.
What brand names are available for lactulose?
Constulose, Enulose, Generlac, Cholac, Constilac
What are the side effects of lactulose?
Diarrhea (loose stool) may occur if the dose of lactulose is too high. Problems associated with diarrhea are fluid and potassium loss in the diarrheal stool leading to dehydration and low blood levels of potassium (hypokalemia). An additional side effect is the elevation of blood levels of sodium (hypernatremia) as a result of the loss of fluid.
Lactulose contains sugars (galactose and lactose) and should be used cautiously in people with diabetes; however, since lactulose is not digested, and little of the sugar is absorbed, the effects in people with diabetes usually are minimal.
What is the dosage for lactulose?
The usual dose is 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls (15 to 30 mL, containing 10 g to 20 g of lactulose) daily. The dose may be increased to 60 mL daily if necessary. Twenty-four to 48 hours may be required to produce a normal bowel movement.
Note: Some patients have found that lactulose solution may be more acceptable when mixed with fruit juice, water or milk.
Dosages from FDA prescribing information for lactulose
Is lactulose safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
What else should I know about lactulose?
What preparations of lactulose-oral are available?
- Oral or rectal solution: 10 mg/15 ml
- Powder for solution (single dose packets): 10 and 20 g.
How should I keep lactulose-oral stored?
Lactulose products should be stored at room temperature, between 15 C and 30 C 59 F and 86 F).
Lactulose (Constulose, Enulose, Generlac, Cholac, Constilac) is a laxative prescribed to treat constipation, and prescribed to treat hepatic encephalopathy when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information is provided.
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Related Disease Conditions
15 Foods That Cause Constipation
Constipation or the decrease in frequency and/or difficulty in passing stools (bowel movements) can be caused by a variety problems. Check out these top 15 foods to avoid because they cause constipation. Some foods to avoid include, white rice and breads, caffeine, bananas, alcohol, processed foods, and frozen dinners.
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C. This disease leads to abnormalities in the liver's ability to handle toxins and blood flow, causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, body fluid accumulation, and frequent infections. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. The prognosis is good for some people with cirrhosis of the liver, and the survival can be up to 12 years; however the life expectancy is about 6 months to 2 years for people with severe cirrhosis with major complications.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a GI (gastrointestinal) disorder with signs and symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, increased gas (flatulence), abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and food intolerance.Two new tests are now available that may help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea and constipation (IBS-M) irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Treatment for IBS includes diet changes, medications, and other lifestyle changes to manage symptoms.
12 Foods to Eat to Relieve Constipation
Constipation is a common problem, and almost everyone has been constipated at one time or another. There are foods that can help prevent constipation and also provide relief, for example, kiwi, prunes, beans (your choice of type), berries, certain seeds, potatoes, and popcorn.
Liver (Anatomy and Function)
The liver is the largest gland and organ in the body. There are a variety of liver diseases caused by liver inflammation, scarring of the liver, infection of the liver, gallstones, cancer, toxins, genetic diseases, and blood flow problems. Symptoms of liver disease generally do not occur until the liver disease is advanced. Some symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, bleeding excessively, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, shortness of breath, leg swelling, impotence, and confusion. Treatment of diseases of the liver depends on the cause.
Laxatives for Constipation
Laxatives types for treatment of constipation include over-the-counter (OTC) preparations, for example, bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, stimulant or saline laxatives, enemas, and suppositories. Some OTC laxatives are not recommended for people with specific diseases or conditions (for example, people with diabetes). Some laxatives may have negative side effects if taken over a long time. Laxatives are not recommended for weight loss.
Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week. Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon. There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low-fiber diets, laxative abuse, and hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon.
Encephalopathy means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. Causes of encephalopathy are varied and numerous. The main symptom of encephalopathy is an altered mental state. Other symptoms include: lethargy, dementia, seizures, tremors, and coma. Treatment of encephalopathy depends on the type of encephalopathy (anoxia, diabetic, Hashimoto's, hepatic, hyper - hypotensive, infectious, metabolic, infections, uremic, or Wernicke's) are examples of types of encephalopathy.
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