Drug Safety

, Volume 27, Issue 15, pp 1235–1242 | Cite as

Safety Issues Regarding Colonic Cleansing for Diagnostic and Surgical Procedures

  • Larry E. Clark
  • Jack A. DiPalma
Review Article


There are various methods available to cleanse the colon in preparation for diagnostic and surgical procedures. The popular options are diet and cathartic regimens, gut lavage and phosphate preparations. Each method has its own unique characteristics and safety profile. Diet and cathartic regimens are based on traditional methods of colonoscopy preparation and remain an acceptable and safe alternative for patients unwilling or unable to tolerate other bowel preparations. Gut lavage methods involve ingestion of 2–4L of osmotically balanced solutions containing polyethylene glycol, which have been shown to be safe and effective for colon cleansing, including for special patient populations with cardiac, renal or hepatic dysfunction. Phosphate preparations have also been shown to be safe and effective for colon cleansing and are generally better tolerated than counterpart gut lavage solutions. However, this method has safety concerns for some patients with cardiac, renal and hepatic dysfunctions.


Bowel Preparation Polyethylene Glycol Bisacodyl Magnesium Citrate Clear Liquid Diet 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Dr DiPalma serves as a consultant director for Braintree Laboratories, Inc., Braintree, MA, USA. Braintree Laboratories, Inc. manufactures GoLYTELY®, NuLYTELY®, Miralax™ and Half Lytely®. No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology, Academic OfficesUniversity of South Alabama College of MedicineMobileUSA

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