What is the role of lactulose in the treatment of cirrhosis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Lactulose is helpful in patients with an acute onset of severe encephalopathy symptoms and in patients with milder, chronic symptoms. This nonabsorbable disaccharide stimulates the passage of ammonia from tissues into the gut lumen and inhibits intestinal ammonia production. Initial lactulose dosing is 30 mL orally once or twice daily. Dosing is increased until the patient has 2-4 loose stools per day. Dosing should be reduced if the patient complains of diarrhea, abdominal cramping, or bloating.


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