Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 1, 2022.
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 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.
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 to 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 soapsuds 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 the 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.
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