Lactulose Side Effects
Not all side effects for lactulose may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.
For the Consumer
Applies to lactulose: oral powder and solution
Side effects include:
Gaseous distention, belching, flatulence, borborygmi, abdominal discomfort (e.g., cramping). Dehydration and hyponatremia in infants.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to lactulose: compounding solution, oral powder for reconstitution, oral syrup, oral and rectal liquid
Diarrhea is an indication of overdose. Severe diarrhea may lead to hypovolemia, hypokalemia, and hypernatremia, especially in elderly or acutely ill patients. If diarrhea develops, the dosage should be reduced.
Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis may occur with lactulose therapy as a result of increased intracolonic pressure caused by ammonia sequestration in the bowel, and particularly when there is a concomitant breach of intestinal mucosal integrity.
Gastrointestinal side effects have included abdominal cramps, gaseous distention, flatulence, belching, bowel distention, cramping, nausea and vomiting, and with excessive doses, diarrhea. Colonic dilatation has been reported in elderly patients. Rare cases of pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis have been reported.
Metabolic side effects have included hypernatremia, hypokalemia and hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. An isolated case of severe and intractable lactic acidosis has been reported.
Fluid and electrolyte disturbances, including severe hypokalemia, hypernatremia and hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis, typically occur as a result of severe diarrhea and subsequent fluid loss. A case of fatal lactulose-induced lactic acidosis in the absence of diarrhea has also been reported. Elderly and/or acutely ill patients may be at increased risk for adverse metabolic effects with lactulose.
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