n. (context organic compound English) A disaccharide of galactose and fructose formed when milk is heated
Lactulose is a non-absorbable sugar used in the treatment of constipation and hepatic encephalopathy. It is used by mouth for constipation and either by mouth or in the rectum for hepatic encephalopathy. It generally begins working after eight to twelve hours but may take up to two days to improve constipation.
Common side effects include abdominal bloating and cramps. There is the potential for electrolyte problems to occur as a result of diarrhea it produces. No evidence of harm to the baby has been found when used during pregnancy. It is generally regarded as safe during breastfeeding. It is classified as an osmotic laxative.
Lactulose was first made in 1929 and has been used medically since the 1950s. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system. It is available as a generic medication. The wholesale price in the developing world is about 0.18 per dose. In the United States 30 doses of the liquid is about 20. It is made from the milk sugar lactose.