Eight Hour Fast as Effective as Oral Sodium Phosphate for Some Patients

In medicine, as in many other fields, the simple solution is often the better one.

A recent study suggests that the kidney health of some capsule endoscopy patients was unnecessarily threatened when a simple eight-hour fast would have been just as effective.

The patients in question all suffered from obscure gastrointenstinal (GI) bleeding and were canddiates for capsule endoscopy, in which a capsule resembling a large vitamin and equipped with a tiny camera, is swallowed.

Before the procedure, however, the patients were put on a bowel-cleansing regimen that included oral sodium phosphate. Oral Sodium Phosphate has since been linked to kidney failure, including acute nephropathy.

In the June 2008 issue of the journal GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, a team of researchers in France have presnted their findings, which suggest that eight hours of fasting works as well as Oral Sodium Phosphate, but without the risk of kidney damage.

Capsule Endoscopy is painless, does not require sedation and can help detect medication injury, vascular malformations, malignang and bening tumors, malabsorption problems, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, gastrointestinal bleeding and (in some cases) esophageal disease.

The study was conducted between December 2004 and February 2006 and used 76 women and 53 men as test subjects. They were randomized in two groups, one of which consumed 45mL of Oral Sodium Phosphate, while the other consumed only clear liquids  in the hours before the procedure.

Researchers assessed bowel preparation at the distal ileum, ileum, middle small bowel, jejunum and duodenum. They found no difference in gastric transmit time, small bowel transmit time or likelihood of finding small bowel lesions. 

Any time a patient is injured or sickened by a medical professional is regrettable, But those suffering from obscure gastrointestinal bleeding were unnecessarily exposed to the risk of serious side effects in the course of treatment when a simple alternative was readily available.

C.B. Fleet Company, maker of Fleet Phospho-soda, has already halted manufacture and distribution of the medication in Canada, where it is being targeted in a class-action lawsuit. Meanwhile, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed more stringent regulations on packaging for Visicol and OsmoPrep, manufactured by Salix Pharmaceuticals.

Enough research has come to light to suggest that Oral Sodium Phosphate drugs pose a significant risk of health. Those who were treated with OSPs should take it upon themselves to protect their health by seeking due medical attention and even consulting with an attorney.

If you or a loved one were given an OSP before undergoing a colonoscopy (or similar procedure) and have suffered an acute kidney injury, its imperative that you protect the statute of limitations of your case. There are strict time restraints associated with class action lawsuits, and if you fail to protect this statute, you are forever barred from any potential recovery. 

Contact the law officers of Keller & Keller today for a free consultation. Our experienced legal team includes experts in defective prescription cases and class-action lawsuits against drug companies.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller
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