Lactulose is a synthetic disaccharide in solution form for oral administration. Each 15 mL of lactulose solution contains 10 g lactulose (and less than 1.6 g galactose, less than 1.2 g lactose, and 1.2 g or less of other sugars). In addition, each 15 mL contains the following inactive ingredients: FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 6, sodium hydroxide (to adjust pH between 5 and 7) and water.
Lactulose is a colonic acidifier which promotes laxation.
The chemical name for lactulose is 4-0-β-D-galactopyranosyl-D-fructofuranose. The structural formula is:
The molecular formula is C12H22O11 and the molecular weight is 342.30. It is freely soluble in water.
Lactulose is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and no enzyme capable of hydrolysis of this disaccharide is present in human gastrointestinal tissue. As a result, oral doses of lactulose reach the colon virtually unchanged. In the colon, lactulose is broken down primarily to lactic acid, and also to small amounts of formic and acetic acids, by the action of colonic bacteria, which results in an increase in osmotic pressure and slight acidification of the colonic spans. This in turn causes an increase in stool water span and softens the stool.
Since lactulose does not exert its effect until it reaches the colon, and since transit time through the colon may be slow, 24 to 48 hours may be required to produce the desired bowel movement.
Lactulose given orally to man and experimental animals resulted in only small amounts reaching the blood.
Urinary excretion has been determined to be 3% or less and is essentially complete within 24 hours.
For the treatment of constipation. In patients with a history of chronic constipation, lactulose solution therapy increases the number of bowel movements per day and the number of days on which bowel movements occur.
Since lactulose solution contains galactose (less than 1.6 g/15 mL), it is contraindicated in patients who require a low galactose diet.
A theoretical hazard may exist for patients being treated with lactulose solution who may be required to undergo electrocautery procedures during proctoscopy or colonoscopy. Accumulation of H2 gas in significant concentration in the presence of an electrical spark may result in an explosive reaction. Although this complication has not been reported with lactulose, patients on lactulose therapy undergoing such procedures should have a thorough bowel cleansing with a non-fermentable solution. Insufflation of CO2 as an additional safeguard may be pursued but is considered to be a redundant measure.
Since lactulose solution contains galactose (less than 1.6 g/15 mL) and lactose (less than 1.2 g/15 mL), it should be used with caution in diabetics.
In the event that an unusual diarrheal condition occurs, contact your physician.
Elderly, debilitated patients who receive lactulose for more than six months should have serum electrolytes (potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide) measured periodically.
Results of preliminary studies in humans and rats suggest that nonabsorbable antacids given concurrently with lactulose may inhibit the desired lactulose-induced drop in colonic pH. Therefore, a possible lack of desired effect of treatment should be taken into consideration before such drugs are given concomitantly with lactulose solution.
There are no known human data on long-term potential for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, or impairment of fertility.
There are no known animal data on long-term potential for mutagenicity.
Administration of lactulose solution in the diet of mice for 18 months in concentrations of 3 and 10 percent (V/W) did not produce any evidence of carcinogenicity.
In studies in mice, rats, and rabbits, doses of lactulose solution up to 6 or 12 mL/kg/day produced no deleterious effects on breeding, conception, or parturition.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when lactulose solution is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Precise frequency data are not available.
Initial dosing may produce flatulence and intestinal cramps, which are usually transient. Excessive dosage can lead to diarrhea with potential complications such as loss of fluids, hypokalemia, and hypernatremia.
Nausea and vomiting have been reported.
There have been no reports of accidental overdosage. In the event of overdosage, it is expected that diarrhea and abdominal cramps would be the major symptoms. Medication should be terminated.
The acute oral LD50 of the drug is 48.8 mL/kg in mice and greater than 30 mL/kg in rats.
Dialysis data are not available for lactulose. Its molecular similarity to sucrose, however, would suggest it should be dialyzable.
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.
Lactulose Solution USP:
(contains 667 mg per mL; 10 g per 15 mL)
Clear, amber, flavorless, sweet-tasting solution.
NDC 0054-8486-16:Unit Dose Patient Cup™ filled to deliver 30 mL, ten 30 mL Patient Cups™ per shelf pack, four shelf packs per shipper.
NDC 0054-3486-63:Bottles of 500 mL.
Store at 25°C (77°F), excursions permitted to 15° to 30°C [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. DO NOT FREEZE.
Pharmacist: Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container with a child-resistant closure.
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 30°C (86°F) 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.
4055190//02Revised August 2007
© RLI, 2007