What Is Icodextrin?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Icodextrin is a solution intended for peritoneal dialysis (PD). This is a procedure that performs the work of the kidneys in patients with kidney failure. The PD solution is infused into the abdomen, or the peritoneal cavity, where it then absorbs the wastes and fluids that the kidneys would normally filter out of the body in a healthy patient. Icodextrin is then drained from the abdomen, along with the waste materials. This procedure is a long-term solution to kidney failure.

Before a patient can use icodextrin or any other peritoneal dialysis solution, the doctor must make an incision in the abdomen through which a catheter is inserted. The catheter is then hooked up to a bag containing the solution. In some cases, patients may be trained to perform the infusion and draining at home.

When it is time for an infusion, the patient must remove the solution bag from the packaging and inspect it carefully. If they notice any leaks in the bag, or the solution appears cloudy or otherwise abnormal, they should not use it. Patients should also check the expiration date before each use. The infusion will typically take 10 to 20 minutes. If the abdomen feels too full or the patient becomes short of breath, he most likely infused too much icodextrin and will need to drain some of it.


Some complications may occur with the use of icodextrin for kidney failure. Peritonitis, an infection of the peritoneal cavity is relatively common in patients performing peritoneal dialysis. Patients may notice redness at the infusion site, pain, or a fever, as well as drained fluid that appears cloudy. Peritonitis requires immediate medical attention.

Other common side effects from icodextrin can include nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach. Chest pain, headache, and abdominal pain have also been reported. Patients may experience flu-like symptoms, a cough, and a headache. They should see their doctors if any side effects become severe or do not go away.

While using icodextrin, patients who are diabetic should be aware that it can interfere with certain types of glucose test strips. Their doctors can recommend a brand that will not be affected. This solution for peritoneal dialysis may also result in high blood sugar. In addition, patients with hypertension should be aware that icodextrin can cause elevated blood pressure.

Before using this dialysis solution, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. As of 2011, it is unknown whether it may pass into breast milk, or whether it may harm an unborn baby. The solution may be contraindicated for use by those who have certain bowel conditions, abnormal mineral levels, or a breathing problem. It may interact with other drugs, including digoxin, insulin, and medicine for high or low blood pressure.



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