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Cephulac (generically known as Lactulose) is a prescribed oral medication indicated to treat constipation and hepatic encephalopathy (a complication of liver disease). Lactulose is a synthetic sugar that works by drawing water into the colon, which softens the stool and makes it easier to pass.
Cephulac does not cure the problem, but may help to improve mental status. Lactulose is also a colonic acidifier that lowers elevated blood ammonia levels and reduces symptoms in patients with hepatic encephalopathy. It works by drawing ammonia from the blood into the colon where it is removed from the body.
Use and Dosage
Lactulose is available as a syrup to be taken orally. It is generally taken once a day for constipation and three to four times a day for liver disease.
Follow the directions carefully. If there are any parts of the directions that are unclear, ask your doctor or pharmacist for further clarification. To improve the taste, you can mix it into fruit juice, water, milk, or a soft dessert. The goal is to have 2-3 soft stools each day.
Lactulose should be taken exactly as directed, and do not take more or less than prescribed or to take it more frequently than recommended by your doctor.
Common Side Effects of Cephulac (Lactulose):
- Abdominal cramping
- Abdominal distention
- Burping (belching)
- Dry mouth
- Excessive bowel activity
- Gas (flatulence)
Serious Side Effects of Cephulac (Lactulose):
- Decreased urine
- Dehydration (low fluids in the body)
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- High blood sodium levels
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Low blood sodium levels
- Mood changes
- Muscle pain, cramps, or twitching
- Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- Severe diarrhea
- Swelling of the feet or lower legs
- Trouble breathing
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
Forms and Strength
Cephulac (Lactulose) is available in the following forms and strength:
- Allergy: Do not take lactulose if you have had an allergic reaction to it or if you are allergic to any of its inactive ingredients.
- Bowel obstruction: Do not take lactulose if you have an obstruction in your bowel.
- Diabetes: Lactulose is a sugar-based medication that may affect blood glucose levels, so it should be used with caution in patients with diabetes.
- Electrolyte imbalance: Lactulose can cause electrolyte imbalances in some patients, particularly those with liver disease or congestive heart failure.
- Renal impairment: Lactulose may be less effective in patients with renal impairment, and dosage adjustments may be necessary.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Lactulose is generally considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but consult with your doctor before taking any medication during these periods.
- Intestinal flora: Lactulose may affect the balance of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, so it should be used with caution in patients with a history of intestinal flora disorders.
- Age: Lactulose may be less effective in elderly patients due to decreased bowel function and decreased renal function.
- Medications: Lactulose may interact with other medications, particularly those that affect bowel function or electrolyte levels.
- Galactose intolerance: Cephulac (lactulose) contains galactose, so it should not be used in patients with galactose intolerance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long does it take for Cephulac to work?
The time it takes for Cephulac to work varies depending on the individual, but it usually takes a few days for the full effect to be felt.
How should I store Cephulac?
Cephulac (lactulose) should be stored at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze the medication and keep it out of the reach of children.
Is Cephulac available without a prescription?
Cephulac is a prescription medication and is not available over the counter.
Can Cephulac be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
Cephulac (lactulose) is generally considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding but consult with your doctor before taking any medication during these periods.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Cephulac?
If you miss a dose of Cephulac (lactulose), take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
It's important to purchase Cephulac from verified Canadian pharmacy.