Dextran 40

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Update Date 14/08/2020 . 6 mins read
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What is Dextran 40 used for?

Dextran 40 is also known as LMD or low molecular weight dextran, as compared to dextran 70 which has a higher molecular weight.

Dextran 40 is a solution containing dextran (a polysaccharide or chained sugar) mixed with dextrose or sodium chloride solutions.

It is commonly used as a plasma extended for restoring blood volume lost through hemorrhaging and treating hypovolemic shock due to surgery, trauma, injury, or other causes of bleeding.

How should I take Dextran 40?

Dextran 40 is administered through intravenous (IV) infusion by your doctor.

How do I store Dextran 40?

Dextran 40 is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Dextran 40 in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Dextran 40 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 Dextran 40 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.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Dextran 40?

The fundamental action of LMD (dextran 40) is the enhancement of blood flow, particularly in the microcirculation. This enhancement is due to:

  1. Its primary effect of volume expansion with resultant hemodilution;
  2. Maintenance of the electronegativity of red blood cells;
  3. Coating of red blood cells and platelets;
  4. Increase in the suspension stability of blood;
  5. A decrease in the viscosity of blood.

It should be emphasized that the above effects are not exerted separately, but conjointly they result in the enhancement of blood flow.

In patients with normal hemostasis, dosage of LMD (dextran 40) approximating 15 mL/kg of body weight may prolong bleeding time and depress platelet function.

Dosages in this range also markedly decrease factor VIII, and decrease factors V and IX to a greater degree than would be expected to occur from hemodilution alone.

Since these changes tend to be more pronounced following trauma or major surgery, patients should be observed for early signs of bleeding complications.

Since increased rouleaux formation may occur in the presence of dextran, it is recommended that blood samples be drawn for typing and cross-matching prior to the infusion of dextran and reserved for subsequent use if necessary. If blood is drawn after the infusion of dextran, the saline agglutination and indirect antiglobulin methods may be used for typing and cross-matching. Difficulty may be encountered when proteolytic enzyme techniques are used to match blood.

Consideration should be given to withdrawal of blood for chemical laboratory tests prior to initiating therapy with dextran because of the following:

  • Blood sugar determinations that employ high concentrations of acid may result in hydrolysis of dextran, yielding falsely elevated glucose assay results. This has been observed both with sulfuric acid and with acetic acid.
  • In other laboratory tests, the presence of dextran in the blood may result in the development of turbidity, which can interfere with the assay. This has been observed in bilirubin assays in which alcohol is employed and in total protein assays employing biuret reagent.

Solutions containing dextrose should be used with caution in patients with known subclinical or overt diabetes mellitus.

Caution must be exercised in the administration of parenteral fluids, especially those containing sodium ions, to patients receiving corticosteroids or corticotropin.

Do not administer unless the solution is clear and the container is undamaged. Discard unused portion.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with dextran 40 in dextrose or sodium chloride. It is also not known whether dextran 40 in dextrose or sodium chloride can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking dextran 40. Dextran 40 is pregnancy risk category C, 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

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Dextran 40?

Some side effects can occur when using this drug, including:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Mild hypotension
  • Tightness of chest
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Injection site infection/phlebitis
  • Acute renal failure
  • Acidosis
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Wheezing

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.


What drugs may interact with Dextran 40?

Dextran 40 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.

Does food or alcohol interact with Dextran 40?

Dextran 40 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 Dextran 40?

Dextran 40 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.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Dextran 40.

What is the dose of Dextran 40 for an adult?


The total dosage does not exceed 20 ml/kg for adults and adolescents, during the first 24 hours. The first 10 ml/kg may be infused as rapidly as necessary to effect improvement.

It is strongly recommended that central venous pressure be monitored frequently during the initial infusion of the drug. Should therapy continue beyond 24 hours, the subsequent dosage should not exceed 10 mL/kg per day and therapy should not continue beyond five days.

Extracorporeal perfusion

The dosage of LMD used will vary with the volume of the pump oxygenator. LMD can serve as a sole primer or as an additive to other priming fluids.

For adults and adolescents, generally, 10 to 20 ml of a 10% solution (1 to 2 g) of LMD per kilogram of body weight are added to the perfusion circuit. Usually, the total dosage should not exceed 2 g/kg of body weight.

Prophylaxis of venous thrombosis and thromboembolism

The dosage of LMD for adults and adolescents should be chosen according to the risk of thromboembolic complications, e.g., type of surgery, and duration of immobilization.

In general, treatment should be initiated during surgery; 500 to 1,000 ml (approximately 10 ml/kg of body weight) should be administered on the day of operation.

Treatment should be continued at a dose of 500 ml daily for an additional two to three days; then, according to the risk of complications, 500 ml may be given every second or third day during the period of risk, for up to two weeks.

What is the dose of Dextran 40 for a child?

The recommended dose is 5 ml/kg body weight and 10 mL/kg.

How is Dextran 40 available?

Dextran 40 is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • 10% LMD in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection

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

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

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of dextran 40, 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.

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