This drug is used by mouth or rectally to treat or prevent complications of liver disease (hepatic encephalopathy). It does not cure the problem, but may help to improve mental status. Lactulose is a colonic acidifier that works by decreasing the amount of ammonia in the blood. It is a man-made sugar solution.
How to use lactulose oral
If you are taking this medication by mouth for liver disease, take it usually 3-4 times a day or as directed by your doctor. To improve the taste, you may mix it into fruit juice, water, milk, or a soft dessert. The goal is to have 2-3 soft stools each day. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy (i.e., the number of soft stools each day).
This medication can also be given rectally as an enema for liver disease. Mix the recommended amount of lactulose with 700 milliliters (24 ounces) of water or normal saline. Give the solution into the rectum and keep the liquid inside for 30-60 minutes as directed by your doctor. If you keep the enema inside for less than 30 minutes, repeat the dose unless directed otherwise.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same time each day.
When this drug is given rectally for liver disease, an improvement in your mental status may occur in as little as 2 hours, but if you are taking this medication by mouth, it may take up to 24 to 48 hours. If you are using this medication for constipation, it may take up to 48 hours to have a bowel movement. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using lactulose, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: a low galactose diet (such as a diet that includes few or no milk products), certain other bowel problem (bowel obstruction), diabetes.
Do not take any laxative medications while using this drug. Frequent use or overuse of laxatives can cause dehydration. This is especially likely to occur in children or the elderly. Contact your doctor right away if you develop any of the following symptoms of dehydration: muscle weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness.
Before having surgery or other procedures (such as electrocautery), tell your doctor or surgeon that you are using this medication.
This medication contains different sugars. If you have diabetes, this medication may affect your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe stomach cramps, diarrhea.
Do not share this product with others.
If you use this product for an extended time, laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood mineral levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store between 36-86 degrees F (2-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not freeze because this will make the medication too thick to pour. If it becomes frozen, warm it to room temperature until it is pourable again. A normal darkening of color may occur. If too much darkening occurs and you cannot swallow it, discard the medication and get a refill. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.