Lactulose: Uses & Sides Effects

Lactulose is a type of sugar. It is broken
down in the large intestine into mild acids that draw water into the colon,
which helps soften the stools. Lactulose is used to treat chronic constipation.
Lactulose is sometimes used to treat or prevent certain conditions of the brain
that are caused by liver failure, which can lead to confusion, problems with
memory or thinking, behavior changes, tremors, feeling irritable, sleep
problems, loss of coordination, and loss of consciousness.

How
should I take lactulose?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow
the directions on your prescription label.

Measure liquid medicine with a special
dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a
dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

The liquid form of lactulose may become
slightly darker in color, but this is a harmless effect. However, do not use
the medicine if it becomes very dark, or if it gets thicker or thinner in
texture.

Lactulose powder should be mixed with at
least 4 ounces of water. You may also use fruit juice or milk to make the
medication taste better.

It may take up to 48 hours before you have
a bowel movement after taking lactulose.

If you use lactulose over a long period of
time, your doctor may want you to have occasional blood tests. Do not miss any
scheduled appointments.

Store lactulose at room temperature away
from moisture and heat.

Precautions

You should not use this medication if you
are on a special diet low in galactose (milk sugar).

To make sure you can safely take lactulose,
tell your doctor if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • diabetes;
  • if you need to have any type of intestinal test using a scope (such
    as a colonoscopy).

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication
is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are
pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether lactulose passes
into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication
without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any
of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of
your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using lactulose and call your doctor
at once if you have severe or ongoing diarrhea.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • bloating, gas;
  • stomach pain;
  • diarrhea; or
  • nausea, vomiting.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Keyword: lactulose.

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