Lactic Acidosis

Condition 101

What is the definition of Lactic Acidosis?

Lactic acidosis refers to lactic acid build up in the bloodstream. Lactic acid is produced when oxygen levels, become low in cells within the areas of the body where metabolism takes place.

What are the causes for Lactic Acidosis?

The most common cause of lactic acidosis is severe medical illness in which blood pressure is low and too little oxygen is reaching the body’s tissues. Intense exercise or convulsions can cause temporary cause lactic acidosis. Certain diseases can also cause the condition including:

  • AIDS
  • Alcoholism
  • Cancer
  • Cirrhosis
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Kidney failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Sepsis (severe infection)

Some medicines can rarely cause lactic acidosis:

  • Certain inhalers used to treat asthma or COPD
  • Epinephrine
  • An antibiotic called linezolid
  • Metformin, used to treat diabetes (most often when overdosed)
  • One type of medicine used to treat HIV infection
  • Propofol

What are the symptoms for Lactic Acidosis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

What are the current treatments for Lactic Acidosis?

The main treatment for lactic acidosis is to correct the medical problem that causes the condition.


Palmer BF. Metabolic acidosis. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 12.

Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 118.

Strayer RJ. Acid-base disorders. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2018:chap 116.

Top Global Doctors

Holger Prokisch
Neuherberg, BY, DE
Tobias B. Haack
Tuebingen, BW, DE
Massimo Zeviani
Cambridge, ENG, GB
Alessandro Protti
Milan, 25, IT
Johannes A. Mayr
Salzburg, 5, AT

Latest Research

Latest Advance
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  • Journal: BMC gastroenterology
  • Treatment Used: Conservative management
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
The study researched the use of conservative management (non-surgery) in patients with iatrogenic gas gangrene after colonoscopy.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Metformin-Associated Lactic Acidosis
  • Journal: European journal of clinical pharmacology
  • Treatment Used: Extracorporeal Treatment (ECTR)
  • Number of Patients: 42
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using ECTR to treat patients with metformin-associated lactic acidosis.
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  • Journal: Diabetes care
  • Treatment Used: Metformin
  • Number of Patients: 10426
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the safety and effectiveness of metformin for the treatment of type 2 diabetic kidney disease.
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  • Journal: Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics
  • Treatment Used: Metformin
  • Number of Patients: 58
  • Published —
The study researched the safety and outcomes of Metformin in patients with chronic liver disease.

Clinical Trials

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  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 9
  • Start Date: July 14, 2020
Phase 3 Trial of Dichloroacetate in Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Deficiency:
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  • Study Type: Device
  • Participants: 60
  • Start Date: January 15, 2018
Effect of Remote Ischemic Preconditioning on Serum Lactate Levels As Well As Cardiac and Renal Functions During and After Open Heart Surgeries
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Dietary Supplement
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Dietary Supplement
  • Participants: 15
  • Start Date: December 8, 2017
The Role of Nicotinamide Riboside in Mitochondrial Biogenesis
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  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 100
  • Start Date: May 1, 2017
Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial of the Effect of Thiamine on Oxygen Consumption After In-hospital Cardiac Arrest.