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All about: Gastrolyte

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Infalyte 3
  • Kao Lectrolyte 1
  • Naturalyte 1
  • Oralyte 1
  • Pedialyte 1
  • Pedialyte Freezer Pops 1
  • Rehydralyte 1
  • Resol 1

In Canada—

  • Lytren 1
  • Gastrolyte 2
  • Pedialyte 1
  • Rapolyte 2

Other commonly used names are oral rehydration salts , ORS-bicarbonate , and ORS-citrate . §

Note:

For quick reference, the following are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.

This information applies to the following medicines:
1. Dextrose and Electrolytes (DEX-trose and ee-LEK-tro-lites)
2. Oral Rehydration Salts § (OR-al ree-hi-DRA-shen solts)*
3. Rice Syrup Solids and Electrolytes (RIS SIR-ep SOL-ids and ee-LEK-tro-lites)
* Not commercially available in the U.S.
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.

Category

  • Electrolyte replenisher—Dextrose and Electrolytes; Oral Rehydration Salts; Rice Syrup Solids and Electrolytes

‡ Resol is available to hospitals only.

§ Distributed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Description

Carbohydrate and electrolytes combination is used to treat or prevent dehydration (the loss of too much water from the body) that may occur with severe diarrhea, especially in babies and young children. Although this medicine does not immediately stop the diarrhea, it replaces the water and some important salts (electrolytes), such as sodium and potassium, that are lost from the body during diarrhea, and helps prevent more serious problems. Some carbohydrate and electrolytes solutions may also be used after surgery when food intake has been stopped.

This medicine is available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use and dose for you or your child.

Carbohydrate and electrolytes combination is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Oral
  • Solution (U.S. and Canada)
  • Powder for oral solution (Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

If you are taking this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For carbohydrate and electrolytes solutions, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your health care professional if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines containing potassium, sodium, citrates, rice, or sugar. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Carbohydrate and electrolytes solutions have not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.

Breast-feeding—This medicine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies. Breast-feeding should continue, if possible, during treatment with carbohydrate and electrolytes solution.

Children—This medicine has been tested in children and, in effective doses, appears to be safe and effective in children. This medicine has not been tested in premature infants.

Older adults—This medicine has been tested and has been shown to be well tolerated by older people.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of carbohydrate and electrolytes solutions. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Difficult urination—This condition may prevent the carbohydrate and electrolytes solution from working properly
  • Inability to drink or
  • Vomiting (severe and continuing)—Treatment by injection may need to be given to patients with these conditions
  • Intestinal blockage—Carbohydrate and electrolytes solution may be harmful if given to patients with this condition

Proper Use of This Medicine

For patients using the commercial powder form of this medicine:

  • Add 7 ounces of boiled, cooled tap water to the entire contents of one powder packet. Shake or stir the container for 2 or 3 minutes until all the powder is dissolved.
  • Do not add more water to the solution after it is mixed.
  • Do not boil the solution.
  • Make and use a fresh solution each day.

For patients using the freezer pop form of this medicine:

  • Pops should be removed from the box before being placed in the freezer. The pops should be frozen before separating.
  • The freezer pop can be eaten without freezing, but tastes best when frozen. To eat the frozen pop, cut the top of the wrapper open and push the pop from the bottom of the plastic sleeve.
  • To drink as a liquid, cut the top of the wrapper open and pour the unfrozen pop into a cup or glass.

For patients using the powder form of this medicine distributed by the World Health Organization (WHO) :

  • Add the entire contents of one powder packet to enough drinking water to make one quart (32 ounces) or liter of solution. Shake the container for 2 or 3 minutes until all the powder is dissolved.
  • Do not add more water to the solution after it is mixed.
  • Do not boil the solution.
  • Make and use a fresh solution each day.

Babies and small children should be given the solution slowly, in small amounts, with a spoon, as often as possible, during the first 24 hours of diarrhea.

Take as directed. Do not take it for a longer time than your doctor has recommended. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Dosing—The dose of these combination medicines will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For dextrose and electrolytes and for rice syrup solids and electrolytes
  • For rehydration (to replace the water and some important salts [electrolytes]):
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults and children over 10 years of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 50 to 100 milliliters (mL) per kilogram (kg) (23 to 45 mL per pound) of body weight taken over four to six hours. Your doctor may change the dose depending on your thirst and your response to the treatment.
      • Children up to 2 years of age—The dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 75 mL per kg (34 mL per pound) of body weight during the first eight hours and 75 mL per kg (34 mL per pound) of body weight during the next sixteen hours. Your doctor may change the dose depending on your thirst and your response to the treatment. However, the dose is usually not more than 100 mL in any 20-minute period.
      • Children 2 to 10 years of age—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 50 mL per kg (23 mL per pound) of body weight taken over the first four to six hours. Then, the dose is 100 mL per kg (45 mL per pound) of body weight taken over the next eighteen to twenty-four hours. Your doctor may change the dose depending on your thirst and your response to the treatment. However, the dose is usually not more than 100 mL in any 20-minute period.
    • For oral dosage form (solution for freezer pop):
      • Children up to 1 year of age—Use must be determined by your doctor.
      • Children older than 1 year of age—Freezer pop may be given as often as desired.
  • For oral rehydration salts
  • For rehydration (to replace the water and some important salts [electrolytes]):
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults and teenagers—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 50 to 100 milliliters (mL) of solution per kilogram (kg) (23 to 45 mL per pound) of body weight taken over four to six hours. Your doctor may change the dose depending on your thirst and your response to the treatment.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the usual dose is 50 to 100 mL per kg (23 to 45 mL per pound) of body weight taken over the first four hours. Your doctor may change the dose depending on your thirst and your response to the treatment.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store the powder packets in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Store the liquid in the refrigerator. However, keep the medicine from freezing.
  • Make a fresh solution each day. Discard unused solution at the end of each day. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

Eat soft foods, if possible, such as rice cereal, bananas, cooked peas or beans, and potatoes to keep up nutrition until the diarrhea stops and regular food and milk can be taken again. Breast-fed infants should be given breast milk between doses of the solution.

If your diarrhea does not improve in 1 or 2 days, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Also, check with your doctor immediately if your baby or child appears to have severe thirst, doughy skin, sunken eyes, dizziness or lightheadedness, tiredness or weakness, irritability, difficult urination, loss of weight, or convulsions (seizures). These signs may mean that too much water has been lost from the body.

For patients (except nursing babies) using the powder form of this medicine:

  • Drink plain water whenever thirsty between doses of solution.

For patients taking the premixed liquid form of this medicine:

  • Do not drink fruit juices or eat foods containing added salt until the diarrhea has stopped.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Symptoms of too much sodium (salt) in the body

Convulsions (seizures); dizziness; fast heartbeat; high blood pressure; irritability; muscle twitching; restlessness; swelling of feet or lower legs; weakness

Symptoms of too much fluid in the body

Puffy eyelids

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if the following side effect continues or is bothersome:

More common

Vomiting (mild)

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 05/21/1998

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