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Bowel-Cleansing Products Linked to Chronic Kidney Failure

Mar 8, 2006 | Some bowel-cleansing products that are used prior to colonoscopies are linked to chronic kidney failure, says the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

In a new posting on its Web site, the Washington, D.C.-based group cites a recent study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that shows bowel-cleansing products that contain sodium phosphate are an under-recognized cause of chronic kidney failure.

The research listed several factors that may contribute to the development of kidney problems as the result of using bowel cleansing products that contain sodium-phosphate. These include: inadequate hydration; a history of high blood pressure; and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and Celebrex.

For the study, researchers at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons reviewed all the kidney biopsies received at the facility between January 2000 and December 2004. They identified 31 patients with kidney damage consistent with phosphate toxicity. Of those 31 patients, 20 had taken oral phosphate solutions before a colonoscopy.

Common bowel-cleansing drugs that contain sodium phosphate include the prescription oral tablet Visicol and the non-prescription product Fleet Phospho-soda, Public Citizen said.

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