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Lactagen® is a nutritional supplement developed by Ritter Pharmaceuticals Inc. to reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance, a condition that involves the lack of the naturally produced enzyme lactase in the stomach. The lack of this particular enzyme causes difficulty in tolerating the digestion of dairy products such as milk, ice cream and cheese. According to the manufacturer, Lactagen® works by training bacteria in the body to improve the metabolism of lactose. Lactagen® is one of the drugs borne out of Ritter's goal of enabling people to eat certain foods without the fear of digestive problems.
Ritter Pharmaceuticals' founder, Andrew Ritter, suffered from lactose intolerance in the 1990s. Ritter grew frustrated by the digestive problems triggered by his consumption of dairy products, not to mention the consequential abstinence from such foods. Thus, he proceeded to gather a team of gastrointestinal and lactose intolerance experts to conduct health research and discover better methods of fighting lactose intolerance. Lactagen® is one of the products developed as a result of this enterprise. Ritter Pharmaceuticals commercially released the supplement in 2004.
Ritter Pharmaceuticals manufactured Lactagen® as a powder, with instructions to mix it with water or juice. Such a solution had to be taken for a period of 38 days, with each day requiring an increased amount of the powder over the previous day. Supplement takers were told to expect the relief of lactose intolerance symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, gas and abdominal cramping. During its production run, Lactagen® could only be purchased from Ritter through its website. The product came with a 100 percent money back guarantee if the customer was not able to enjoy dairy products after completion of the program.
Marketed as the only real solution to lactose intolerance, Lactagen® was responsible for a 47 percent increase in company sales, according to Andrew Ritter. The growing company said the product should be used as a temporary supplement. Ritter designed Lactagen® as a one-time, 38-day program. Its classification as a natural dietary supplement meant Lactagen® was not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are no known side effects of the product, and the FDA cannot evaluate claims from Ritter Pharmaceuticals of its effectiveness.
By January 2011, Ritter was no longer selling Lactagen®. The company was, instead, working on its apparent successor, called RP-G28. Ritter plans to develop it as a second-generation supplement that will treat lactose intolerance long-term period and receive FDA approval.