Fat Emulsions


|Fat Emulsions

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Intralipid
  • Liposyn II
  • Liposyn III

In Canada—

  • Intralipid
  • Liposyn II


  • Nutritional supplement, fatty acid


Fat emulsions are used as dietary supplements for patients who are unable to get enough fat in their diet, usually because of certain illnesses or recent surgery. Fats are used by the body for energy and to form substances needed for normal body functions.

Fat emulsions are available by injection only with your doctor"s prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For fat emulsions, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to eggs, soybeans, beans, peas, or fat emulsions. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either animals or humans.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether fat emulsions pass into the breast milk. However, this medicine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Fat emulsions may cause or worsen lung problems or jaundice if given to premature infants. Although there is no specific information comparing use of fat emulsions in older children with use in other age groups, it is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older children than it does in adults.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. Although there is no specific information comparing use of fat emulsions in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of fat emulsions. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Blood problems or
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus or
  • High cholesterol levels or
  • Infection or
  • Jaundice or
  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease or
  • Lung disease or
  • Pancreas disease—Fat emulsions may make these conditions worse

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing—The amount of fat emulsions to be used will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average dose of fat emulsions. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of fat emulsions that is infused into your vein depends on the strength of the fat emulsions used.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For nutritional supplement:
      • Adults and teenagers—At first, the dose is 0.5 to 1 milliliter (mL) per minute injected slowly into a vein over a period of fifteen to thirty minutes. Your doctor may increase the rate of the injection until up to 250 to 500 mL have been injected over four to six hours.
      • Children—At first, the dose is 0.1 mL per minute injected slowly into a vein over a period of fifteen minutes. Your doctor may increase the rate of the injection up to 50 to 100 mL per hour.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing. Do not refrigerate.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is very important that your doctor check your progress weekly while you are receiving fat emulsions to make sure that this medicine does not cause unwanted effects.

Fat emulsions can lower your ability to fight infection. If you think you are getting an infection, check with your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Chills; fever; sore throat


Bluish color of skin; chest or back pain; difficulty in breathing; headache; hives; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual irritability; unusual tiredness or weakness; yellow eyes or skin

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Redness, swelling, or pain at place of injection

Less common

Diarrhea; dizziness; flushing; nausea and vomiting

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 05/12/1993
Revised: 09/02/1999

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