Inulin (Intravenous)

Overview

Used to assess kidney function, Inulin is generally prescribed to patients if a kidney condition is suspected. Once the patient has been given Inulin, it will be processed by the filtering structures of the kidneys, known as the glomeruli. As Inulin is not reabsorbed into the renal tubes, the entire dose of medicine should be filtered by the glomeruli and passed into the patient's urine.

The glomerular filtration rate can then be measured by determining how quickly the Inulin is excreted in the patient's urine. During the test, a catheter may be used so that accurate testing of the urine can take place. In addition to this, blood samples may be taken to test how much Inulin remains in the patient's blood plasma.

When the patient's glomerular filtration rate has been determined, it can be compared to average filtration rates. Typically, female patients have an average glomerular filtration rate of 75-115ml per minute, whereas the average for male patients is 85-125ml per minute. If the patient's glomerular filtration rate differs considerably from the average, it may indicate that they are suffering from a kidney condition and physicians can use these results to diagnose what type of kidney problem may be occurring.

Often referred to as an Inulin filtration test or an Inulin clearance rate test, this procedure is carried out in a clinical setting. As the medication is administered intravenously and the patient is continually monitored throughout the procedure, patients should only be given this medication in a hospital or treatment center.

Predominantly used for diagnostic purposes, Inulin is essential to the successful diagnosis of kidney conditions and can help to ensure patients benefit from a swift and accurate diagnosis. As kidney health can be indicative of more widespread health problems, Inulin can be used to determine whether the patient has an existing kidney problem and, if so, whether it is connected to health problems elsewhere in the body.

Conditions Treated

  • Used to test kidney function

Type Of Medicine

  • Group of polysaccharides
  • Nutraceutical
  • Diagnostic agent

Side Effects

Although patients can experience adverse effects after being treated with any type of medication, Inulin is not associated with any specific side effects. However, patients should inform their healthcare practitioner if they notice any side effects during or following treatment with this medication.

As Inulin is delivered intravenously, patients may experience some pain, swelling, soreness, itching or redness at the site of the injection. Similarly, patients could exhibit hives, discoloration of skin, a feeling of pressure, burning, blistering or bleeding at the site of the injection. As infection can sometimes occur at the site of an injection, patients should notify their healthcare practitioner if they experience these side effects.

In addition to this, patients can notify the Food and Drug Administration if they experience side effects caused by Inulin. This helps the FDA to maintain up-to-date records regarding the side effects associated with specific drugs. If patients do experience adverse effects are being treated with Inulin, they can report them to the Food and Drug Administration by contacting them on 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage

When patients are undergoing a glomerular filtration test, Inulin will be administered as a continuous intravenous infusion. The patient's dose of Inulin will depend on their age, weight, clinical presentation, medical history and the length of the procedure they're undergoing.

Due to this, the patient's dose will be calculated by their physician prior to the test and may be modified throughout the procedure.

As patients are given Inulin by an experienced healthcare practitioner in a clinical setting, they will not need to calculate their own dose or administer the medication themselves.

Potential Drug Interactions

Although some drugs can be taken in conjunction with one another, this is not true of all medications. If certain medicines are used at the same time, an interaction may occur and this could be harmful or dangerous to the patient. The consequences of an unintended drug interaction can range from an increase in side effects to an emergency health crisis so it's essential that interactions are avoided where possible.

Due to this, patients should tell their physician if they are using any prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, supplements or vitamins prior to having an Inulin clearance test. In addition to this, patients should consult their doctor and confirm whether they can take their prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, supplements and/or vitamins following the test. By doing so, patients can reduce the risk of an interaction and subsequent complications occurring.

The following substances may interact with Inulin:

  • Linaclotide
  • Lactulose

Warnings

Prior to being given Inulin as a diagnostic agent, patients should discuss their current health and their medical history with their physician. There are some conditions which may prevent Inulin from being used and these may include:

The above conditions will not necessarily prevent Inulin from being used but physicians may alter their expectations based on the patient's existing medical conditions. If patients have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), for example, Inulin is likely to be cleared at a lower rate than average. Providing doctors are aware of the patient's existing condition, they can modify the test or account for the results and prevent an inaccurate diagnosis being made following the Inulin clearance test.

Inulin has previously been used in pediatric patients and is not thought to pose a significant risk in these patients.

The effects of Inulin on geriatric patients have not been specifically studied but the medication is not thought to affect older patients differently or pose an additional risk to them.

To date, the Food and Drug Administration has not classified Inulin in terms of the potential risks to pregnant patients. Although Inulin is not thought to pose a significant risk to this group of patients, pregnant women should only undergo testing during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

If patients are pregnant, they must notify their physician before Inulin is administered and a kidney function test is carried out.

It is not known if Inulin can be passed from a patient to an infant via breastfeeding or, if so, whether it could cause harm to an infant. Although it's not thought that Inulin is transmitted in this way, it remains a possibility. Due to this, patients may be advised not to breastfeed after being treated with Inulin. Although Inulin is normally fully excreted in the urine, patients should confirm with their physician when they can resume breastfeeding if they have recently undergone a kidney function test involving Inulin.

Before patients are given Inulin, they should tell their physician if they have any known allergies or if they have ever exhibited an allergic reaction before. In rare cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction whilst being given Inulin or following an Inulin clearance test. As serious allergic reactions can be life-threatening, patients will need to obtain emergency medical treatment if they exhibit the following symptoms after Inulin has been administered:

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gasping for breath
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Rash on the skin
  • Hoarseness
  • Welts
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the hands, face lips, mouth, tongue and/or throat

Storage

In order to ensure the diagnostic agent is suitable for use, Inulin should be stored in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions or the medication guidelines. Prior to use, Inulin can normally be kept at room temperature but may need to be protected from light and/or heat.

As Inulin is administered by a physician or nurse in a clinical setting, such as a treatment center or a hospital, patients should not need to store Inulin at home at any time.

Summary

The proper functioning of the kidneys is essential to good health and poor kidney function can be indicative of a number of health problems. If a kidney condition is suspected, it's vital that the patient's kidney function is assessed so that a full diagnosis can be made and treatment can be started, if it is necessary.

A poor clearance rate, following a glomerular function test, may be used to confirm that the patient is experiencing a kidney problem and to determine what type of condition the patient has. In some cases, an Inulin clearance test may precede further diagnostic tests for conditions, such as kidney failure, kidney cancer, nephritis, uremia, Dent's disease and/or kidney stones. An Inulin clearance test may also be performed if an acute kidney injury is suspected.

As the majority of patients can tolerate Inulin fairly easily, patients normally suffer from minimal side effects following the procedure. Due to this, Inulin is a popular diagnostic agent. Although Creatinine is also a commonly-used diagnostic agent and is often used in kidney function tests, Inulin remains a viable investigative tool and can be used to gain an accurate insight into the patient's kidney function.