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Controlled studies have shown that lactulose solution therapy reduces the blood ammonia levels by 25 to 50%; this is generally paralleled by an improvement in the patients' mental state and by an improvement in EEG patterns. The clinical response has been observed in about 75% of patients, which is at least as satisfactory as that resulting from neomycin therapy. An increase in patients' protein tolerance is also frequently observed with lactulose therapy. In the treatment of chronic portal-systemic encephalopathy, lactulose has been given for over 2 years in controlled studies.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Adult: The usual adult, oral dosage is 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls (30 to 45 mL, containing 20 g to 30 g of lactulose) three or four times daily. The dosage may be adjusted every day or two to produce 2 or 3 soft stools daily.
Hourly doses of 30 to 45 mL of lactulose solution may be used to induce the rapid laxation indicated in the initial phase of the therapy of portal-systemic encephalopathy. When the laxative effect has been achieved, the dose of lactulose may then be reduced to the recommended daily dose. Improvement in the patient's condition may occur within 24 hours but may not begin before 48 hours or even later.
Continuous long-term therapy is indicated to lessen the severity and prevent the recurrence of portal-systemic encephalopathy. The dose of lactulose for this purpose is the same as the recommended daily dose.
Pediatric: Very little information on the use of lactulose in young children and adolescents has been recorded. As with adults, the subjective goal in proper treatment is to produce 2 or 3 soft stools daily. On the basis of information available, the recommended initial daily oral dose in infants is 2.5 to 10 mL in divided doses. For older children and adolescents, the total daily dose is 40 to 90 mL. If the initial dose causes diarrhea, the dose should be reduced immediately. If diarrhea persists, lactulose should be discontinued.
When the adult patient is in the impending coma or coma stage of portal- systemic encephalopathy and the danger of aspiration exists, or when the necessary endoscopic or intubation procedures physically interfere with the administration of the recommended oral doses, lactulose solution may be given as a retention enema via a rectal balloon catheter. Cleansing enemas containing soap suds or other alkaline agents should not be used.
Three hundred mL of lactulose solution should be mixed with 700 mL of water or physiologic saline and retained for 30 to 60 minutes. Lactulose enema may be repeated every 4 to 6 hours. If this lactulose enema is inadvertently evacuated too promptly, it may be repeated immediately.
The goal of treatment is reversal of the coma stage in order that the patient may be able to take oral medication. Reversal of coma may take place within 2 hours of the first enema in some patients. Lactulose given orally in the recommended doses, should be started before lactulose by enema is stopped entirely.
Lactulose Solution USP (Oral or Rectal Solution), 10 g/15 mL, is a clear, yellow to golden-yellow solution supplied in one pint (473 mL) and two quart (1.89 L) bottles. Lactulose solution contains: 667 mg lactulose/mL (10 g/15 mL).
Store at 25° C (77° F); excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F) (see USP Controlled Room Temperature). Do not freeze. Keep tightly closed.
Under recommended storage conditions, a normal darkening of color may occur. Such darkening is characteristic of sugar solutions and does not affect therapeutic action.
Prolonged exposure to temperatures above 86° F (30° C) or to direct light may cause extreme darkening and turbidity which may be pharmaceutically objectionable. If this condition develops, do not use. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures may cause change to a semisolid, too viscous to pour. Viscosity will return to normal upon warming to room temperature.
Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container as defined in the USP, with a child-resistant closure.
Manufactured by: Novex Pharma, Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada L4C 5H2. Manufactured for: Apotex Corp. Weston, FL 33326. July 2003. FDA rev date: 7/28/2003
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/16/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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