Lactated Ringer's Injection is a common electrolyte solution with a variety of clinical uses. Its composition is intended to mimic the concentrations of electrolytes in blood. Lactated Ringer's Injection, USP contains the following per 100mL of water for injection:

13.0 mEq sodium
10.9 mEq chloride
0.4 mEq potassium
0.3 mEq calcium
2.8 mEq lactate

Similar solutions include:

Ringer's Injection
Ringer's and Dextrose Injection
Lactated Ringer's and Dextrose Injection
Half-Strength Lactated Ringer's and Dextrose Injection
Modified Lactated Ringer's and Dextrose Injection
Ringer's Irrigation
Lactated Ringer's Irrigation

Major manufacturers of Ringer's solutions include Baxter, Abbott, and McGaw. These solutions are provided in plastic IV bags typically ranging in volume from 250 to 1000mL.

Lactated Ringer's is used to expand blood volume, replenish electrolytes and correct mild acidosis. Sodium is the most important cation in extracellular fluid, and is closely related to chloride concentration. Sodium concentration is used to regulate water distribution, control osmotic pressure of bodily fluids, and regulate electrolyte balance. Sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate are all involved in regulating the pH of the body. While sodium is the primary cation in extracellular functions, potassium is the most important cation in intracellular fluids. It is involved in maintenance of intracellular pH, isotonicity, and cell electrodynamic properties. Potassium is involved in many enzymatic and physiological processes such as muscle contractions, carbohydrate metabolism, and nerve impulses. Calcium is involved in many of the same processes as potassium, and also regulates cell membrane and capillary permeability, release of neurotransmitters and hormones, and uptake of amino acids and vitamins. Lactate is metabolized to produce bicarbonate, which as stated above, is important in regulation of pH.

Some uses of Lactated Ringer's approved by the FDA in the United States include treatment of trauma, hypovolemic conditions, and burns. Unapproved uses include vetrinary treatment similar to the human indications, and the treatment of hangovers in humans. I'm a chemist, not a doctor, but I assume a Ringer's IV would aid in the recovery from a hangover by countering the effects of dehydration (alcohol is a diuretic), which in turn helps the body detoxify and expel congeners and all the nasty by-products of alcohol metabolism. You're probably better off just drinking Gatorade since Lactated Ringer's Injection can only be dispensed by prescription (at least in the US), and your doctor will probably just tell you not to drink so much. Improper administration of Ringer's solution can be dangerous, as possible side-effects include fluid overload and congestive heart failure. Lactated Ringer's should not be used in patients with renal failure.

Common dosage is as follows:

  • Fluid replacement for blood loss: 3mL of lactated ringer's for every 1mL blood loss
  • Burn treatment: 4mL lactated ringer's X % of body burned X weight in kilograms -- half administered in the first 8 hours, remainder infused during the following 16 hours. This is the widely used Parkland Burn Formula.
  • Pediatric dose: 20mL per kilogram of body weight
  • Neonatal dose: 10 mL per kilogram

Sources: This is just one of many sites serving up the same page of info.
National Hospital Formulary Service Drug Information

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