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What is lactulose, and why is it given to liver patients?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ankush Bansal
Internal Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: Non-digestible sugar

Lactulose is a non-digestible sugar.
When ingested, it is metabolized by normal colon bacteria into small fatty acids, acetic acid, & lactic acid. The extra h+ attracts & binds ammonia (nh3) from the blood creating ammonium (nh4+). This is trapped in the colon & defecated out. This reduces the overall blood ammonia concentration which worsens hepatic encephalopathy. But it also causes diarrhea.

In brief: Non-digestible sugar

Lactulose is a non-digestible sugar.
When ingested, it is metabolized by normal colon bacteria into small fatty acids, acetic acid, & lactic acid. The extra h+ attracts & binds ammonia (nh3) from the blood creating ammonium (nh4+). This is trapped in the colon & defecated out. This reduces the overall blood ammonia concentration which worsens hepatic encephalopathy. But it also causes diarrhea.
Dr. Ankush Bansal
Dr. Ankush Bansal
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