What is mannitol?


Generic Name: Mannitol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is mannitol used for?

Mannitol is a diuretic. Mannitol is used to force urine production in people with acute (sudden) kidney failure. Increased urine production helps to keep the kidneys from shutting down, and also speeds up elimination of certain toxic substances in the body.

Mannitol is also used to reduce swelling and pressure inside the eye or around the brain.

Mannitol may also be used for purposes not listed in mannitol guide.

How should I take mannitol?

Mannitol is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Mannitol must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and you may receive the mannitol around the clock.

To be sure mannitol is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. This will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with mannitol. Your heart function will also need to be tested.

How do I store mannitol?

Mannitol is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store mannitol in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of mannitol that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush mannitol down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using mannitol?

Before taking mannitol, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to it;
  • Have severe or long-term kidney disease;
  • Have swelling or congestion in your lungs;
  • Have bleeding in your brain that is not related to surgery;
  • Have severe dehydration;
  • If your kidneys have already shut down and you are unable to urinate.

Is it safe to take mannitol during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using mannitol during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking mannitol. Mannitol is pregnancy risk category  B according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of mannitol?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your care givers right away if you have:

  • Swelling in your hands or feet;
  • Anxiety, sweating, severe shortness of breath, cough with foamy mucus, chest pain;
  • Painful or difficult urination;
  • A light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • Pain, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given;
  • Dehydration symptoms–feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;
  • Signs of an electrolyte imbalance–dry mouth, increased thirst, confusion, fast heart rate, increased urination, muscle pain or weakness, feeling light-headed, fainting, or seizure (convulsions);
  • Signs of a kidney problem–little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath.

Common side effects may include: increased urination; nausea, vomiting; fever, chills,  headache, runny nose; swelling, rapid weight gain; chest pain; skin rash; or dizziness, blurred vision.

 Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with mannitol?

Mannitol may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval, especially:

  • Arsenic Trioxide;
  • Droperidol;
  • Levomethadyl;
  • Sotalol;
  • Tobramycin;

Does food or alcohol interact with mannitol?

Mannitol may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with mannitol?

Mannitol may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Angina (severe chest pain), unstable;
  • Cough, severe;
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood);
  • Infection (e.g., upper and lower respiratory tract);
  • Lung disease or other breathing problems (e.g., ventilatory impairment);
  • Pneumothorax (air or gas in the chest cavity);
  • Spirometry-induced bronchoconstriction (breathing problem during the spirometry test) ;
  • Surgery (e.g., stomach, chest, or eyes), recent—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Aortic or cerebral aneurysm (heart or blood vessel problem);
  • Heart attack, recent;
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure), uncontrolled ;
  • Stroke, recent—Should not be used in patients with these conditions. May cause bronchospasm.
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using mannitol.

What is the dose of mannitol for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Oliguria

  • Renal function test dose prior to initiation of treatment: 0.2 g/kg IV over 3 to 5 min resulting in a urine flow of at least 30 to 50 mL/hr. A second test dose may be administered if the urine flow does not increase. If no response is seen following the second test dose, the patient should be reevaluated.
  • Treatment: 300 to 400 mg/kg (21 to 28 g for a 70 kg patient) or up to 100 g of 15% to 20% solution IV once. Treatment should not be repeated in patients with persistent oliguria.
  • Prevention (for use during cardiovascular and other types of surgery): 50 to 100 g IV. usually a 5 , 10, or 20% solution is used depending on the fluid requirements of the patient.

Usual Adult Dose for Cerebral Edema

  • 25 to 2 g/kg as a 15 to 20% solution IV over at least 30 min administered not more frequently than every 6 to 8 hrs.

What is the dose of mannitol for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is mannitol available?

Mannitol is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

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

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services (115) or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of mannitol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017