Duphalac solution contains the active ingredient lactulose, which is a type of medicine called an osmotic laxative. (NB. Lactulose is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.) Lactulose has two quite different uses: treating constipation and, in higher doses, reducing a complication associated with liver disease called hepatic encephalopathy.
In treating constipation lactulose works by increasing the water content and volume of the stools in the bowel, making them softer and easier to pass. Lactulose is made up of sugar molecules and is broken down by the bacteria that live in the lower part of the gut. This leads to the contents of the gut becoming more acidic, which reduces the absorption of a chemical called ammonia. The presence of ammonia in the gut causes water to be drawn into the lower bowel. This increases the amount of water in the stools, softening them and making them easier to pass, thus relieving constipation. It can take up to 48 hours for the lactulose to have an effect.
In treating hepatic encephalopathy lactulose also works by reducing the absorption of ammonia from the gut. The liver normally breaks down ammonia, but in liver disease such as cirrhosis the blood may bypass the liver, allowing this poisonous substance to pass to the brain. Here it can impair brain function, causing confusion, drowsiness and finally coma. By acidifying the contents of the gut, lactulose reduces the absorption of ammonia from the gut, thereby preventing this complication of liver disease.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Lactulose is not known to affect other medicines.
Lactulose solution is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.