Pharmacology GI & Nutrition #3

Question

Which would most indicate the ultimate goal of lactulose treatment in a client with hepatic encephalopathy?

Answers

  1. Decreasing potassium levels
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because, although potassium levels may be decreased due to increased bowel movement during lactulose treatment, it is not the specific goal for the client with hepatic encephalopathy. The goal of lactulose treatment for the client with hepatic encephalopathy is decreased ammonia levels and increased level of consciousness.

  2. Decreasing nausea
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because lactulose is a laxative and a medication that lowers ammonia levels for treatment of hepatic encephalopathy. This medication’s goal of treatment is not treatment of nausea.

  3. Increasing cognition
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because increasing cognition reflects improved brain function, so is the goal of treatment for lactulose in this client with liver failure with associated hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy occurs as ammonia levels increase in liver failure clients. The client begins to show neurologic changes, including decreasing level of consciousness, tremors, and seizures.

  4. Increasing diarrhea
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because, although lactulose is laxative and can induce diarrhea, the ultimate goal of lactulose treatment for a client with hepatic encephalopathy is improved level of consciousness, reflected by improved cognition.

Overview

Hepatic encephalopathy occurs as the result of increased ammonia levels in the blood associated with liver failure often associated with cirrhosis of the liver. Lactulose is a medication administered to help decrease those levels to improve brain function. This is shown through increasing levels of consciousness and cognition.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Hepatic encephalopathy is a dangerous result of increased ammonia levels produced in the client with liver diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver. Lactulose is a medication that is a laxative and medication which lowers blood ammonia levels. The goal of lactulose treatment in a client with hepatic encephalopathy is an increased level of consciousness. Increasing cognition reflects improved brain function, so is the goal of treatment for lactulose in this client.

Test Taking Tip

Be sure to read and re-read the question to make sure you are answering what the question is asking. Remember, a medication may have numerous uses, but pay attention to the details in the question to determine the appropriate, “most correct” answer.

Video Rationale