Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System
Lactitol is a sugar alcohol used as a replacement bulk sweetener for low calorie foods with approximately 40% of the sweetness of sugar. Lactitol also promotes colon health as a prebiotic. Lactitol is a laxative and is used to prevent or treat constipation.
Lactulose is a synthetic disaccharide which is metabolised by gastro-intestinal bacterial flora to low molecular weight acids (chiefly lactic and acetic acids). There is no endogenous metabolising enzyme in the human gut. Its mode of action in constipation is as an osmotic agent producing soft stools.
High molecular weight (4000) macrogols are long linear polymers which retain water molecules by means of hydrogen bonds. When administered by the oral route, they lead to an increase in volume of intestinal fluids.
Magnesium sulfate is a saline purgative. It can be employed locally in various inflammatory conditions, due to its osmotic action.
Mannitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol used clinically primarily for its osmotic diuretic properties.