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a sugar alcohol widely distributed in plants and fungi; it is an osmotic diuretic administered to prevent and treat acute renal failure, to reduce cerebral edema or elevated intraocular or cerebrospinal fluid pressure, and to reduce renal damage due to toxic substances; also used as an irrigating solution to prevent hemolysis during transurethral resection of the prostate and similar transurethral procedures.


Osmitrol, Polyfusor (UK), Resectisol

Pharmacologic class: Osmotic diuretic

Therapeutic class: Diuretic

Pregnancy risk category C


Increases osmotic pressure of plasma in glomerular filtrate, inhibiting tubular reabsorption of water and electrolytes (including sodium and potassium). These actions enhance water flow from various tissues and ultimately decrease intracranial and intraocular pressures; serum sodium level rises while potassium and blood urea levels fall. Also protects kidneys by preventing toxins from forming and blocking tubules.


Injection: 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%

Solution: 5 g/100 ml

Indications and dosages

Test dose for marked oliguria or suspected inadequate renal function

Adults: 0.2 g/kg I.V. infusion (approximately 50 ml of 25% solution, 75 ml of 20% solution, or 100 ml of 15% solution) over 3 to 5 minutes. If urine flow doesn't increase, second dose may be given; if response is inadequate after second dose, reevaluate patient.

To prevent oliguria during cardiovascular and other surgeries

Adults: 50 to 100 g I.V. infusion as 5% to 15% solution

Acute oliguria

Adults: Up to 100 g I.V. infusion as 15% to 25% solution

Children: 0.25 to 2 g/kg I.V. or 60 mg/m2 as 15% to 20% solution over 2 to 6 hours

To reduce intracranial pressure and brain mass

Adults: 0.5 to 2 g/kg I.V. infusion as 15% to 25% solution given over 30 to 60 minutes

Children: 1 to 2 g/kg I.V. or 30 to 60 g/m2 over 30 to 60 minutes. Small or debilitated patients may require smaller dose of 500 mg/kg.

To reduce intraocular pressure

Adults: 0.5 to 2 g/kg I.V. infusion as 15% to 25% solution given over 30 to 60 minutes. For preoperative use, give 60 to 90 minutes before surgery.

Children: 1 to 2 g/kg I.V. or 30 to 60 g/m2 over 30 to 60 minutes. Small or debilitated patients may require smaller dose of 500 mg/kg.

To promote diuresis in drug toxicity

Adults: 5% to 25% solution by I.V. infusion given continuously to maintain high urine output

Children: 2 g/kg I.V. of 5% to 10% solution given continuously to maintain high urine output

Irrigation during transurethral resection of prostate

Adults: 2.5% to 5% solution instilled into bladder via indwelling urethral catheter, as needed


• Active intracranial bleeding (except during craniotomy)
• Anuria secondary to severe renal disease
• Progressive heart failure, pulmonary congestion, renal damage, or renal dysfunction after mannitol therapy begins
• Severe pulmonary congestion or pulmonary edema
• Severe dehydration


Use cautiously in:
• severe renal disease, heart failure, mild to moderate dehydration
• pregnant or breastfeeding patients.


Withhold drug until adequate renal function and urinary output are established.
• When administering for drug toxicity, give fluids and electrolytes to match fluid loss.
• Be aware that at low temperatures, solution may crystallize (especially concentrations above 15%). If crystals form, warm bottle in hot-water bath or dry-heat oven or autoclave, then cool to body temperature or lower before giving.
• Don't give electrolyte-free mannitol solutions with blood; when giving blood with mannitol, add 20 mEq or more of sodium chloride solution to each liter of mannitol solution to avoid pseudoagglutination.
• Know that drug may be given as continuous or intermittent I.V. infusion. Infuse at prescribed rate using infusion device and in-line filter. Give single I.V. dose over 30 to 90 minutes in adults.

Avoid extravasation, because it may cause local edema and tissue necrosis.

Adverse reactions

CNS: dizziness, headache, seizures

CV: chest pain, hypotension, hypertension, tachycardia, thrombophlebitis, heart failure, vascular overload

EENT: blurred vision, rhinitis

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth

GU: polyuria, urinary retention, osmotic nephrosis

Metabolic: dehydration, water intoxication, hypernatremia, hyponatremia, hypovolemia, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, metabolic acidosis

Respiratory: pulmonary congestion

Skin: rash, urticaria

Other: chills, fever, thirst, edema, extravasation with edema and tissue necrosis


Drug-drug.Digoxin: increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Diuretics: increased therapeutic effects of mannitol

Lithium: increased urinary excretion of lithium

Drug-diagnostic tests.Electrolytes: increased or decreased levels

Patient monitoring

Monitor I.V. site carefully to avoid extravasation and tissue necrosis.
• In comatose patient, insert indwelling urinary catheter as ordered to monitor urine output.
• Monitor renal function tests, urinary output, fluid balance, central venous pressure, and electrolyte levels (especially sodium and potassium).

Watch for excessive fluid loss and signs and symptoms of hypovolemia and dehydration.

Assess for evidence of circulatory overload, including pulmonary edema, water intoxication, and heart failure.

Patient teaching

• Teach patient about importance of monitoring exact urinary output.

Advise patient to report pain at infusion site as well as adverse reactions, such as increased shortness of breath or pain in back, legs, or chest.
• Tell patient drug may cause thirst or dry mouth. Emphasize that fluid restrictions are necessary, but that frequent mouth care should ease these symptoms.
• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs and tests mentioned above.


/man·ni·tol/ (man´ĭ-tol) a sugar alcohol formed by reduction of mannose or fructose and widely distributed in plants and fungi; an osmotic diuretic used to prevent and treat acute renal failure, to promote excretion of toxic substances, to reduce cerebral edema or elevated intracranial or intraocular pressure, and to prevent hemolysis during transurethral surgical procedures.


(măn′ĭ-tôl′, -tōl′, -tŏl′)
A white, crystalline, water-soluble, slightly sweet alcohol, C6H8(OH)6, found in plants, algae, and fungi. It is used in medicine, especially for its diuretic properties, and in foods as a sweetener and texturizer.


a poorly metabolized sugar used as an osmotic diuretic and in kidney function tests.
indications It is prescribed to promote diuresis, decrease intraocular and intracranial pressure, promote the excretion of poisons and other toxic wastes, and evaluate renal function.
contraindications Pulmonary edema, dehydration, or known hypersensitivity to this drug prohibits its use.
adverse effects Among the more serious adverse effects are pulmonary edema, heart failure, hyponatremia, headache, vomiting, and confusion.


A hexahydric sugar alcohol, which is used clinically as an osmotic diuretic to reduce brain swelling and intracranial pressure and to manage oliguric renal failure. It is also used to prime heart-lung pumps, to increase hydration of the upper airways in patients with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis, for acute glaucoma in veterinary medicine, and as a laxative.


A sugar sometimes given by injection as a concentrated solution to draw water from the brain in cases of ENCEPHALITIS or head injury. The drug is on the WHO official list.

hyperosmotic agent

A drug that makes blood plasma hypertonic thus drawing fluid out of the eye and leading to a reduction in intraocular pressure. It is used in solution in the treatment of angle-closure glaucoma and sometimes before surgery to decrease the intraocular pressure. Common agents include glycerin (glycerol), isosorbide, mannitol and urea. See hypertonic solution.


n a poorly metabolized sugar used as an osmotic diuretic and in kidney function tests.


a sugar alcohol occurring widely in nature, especially in fungi; utilization of mannitol is used in identification of some bacteria; used in diagnostic tests of kidney function and as an osmotic diuretic, particularly in the treatment of cerebral edema and oliguric acute renal failure.
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Treatment of elevated intracranial pressure in experimental intracerebral hemorrhage: Comparison between mannitol and hypertonic saline.
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Given within 48 hours of ingesting the poison, intravenous doses of mannitol, a complex sugar, can greatly reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.
In the glycerol dehydration test, the patient ingests a dehydrating agent such as glycerol or mannitol, and the physician looks for subsequent changes in symptoms, particularly a measurable improvement in hearing.
Mannitol is not normally found in cereal crops, but is found in some food crops, including celery.