March 7, 2006
Certain Bowel-Cleansing Products Used Prior to Colonoscopies
Are Linked to Chronic Kidney Failure, Public Citizen Reveals on WorstPills.org Web Site
“Worst Pills, Best Pills” Readers Also Receive Life-Saving Warnings About Dangerous Drugs Before They Are Removed From the Market
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Certain bowel-cleansing products used prior to colonoscopies are linked to chronic kidney failure, Public Citizen writes in a new March posting on its WorstPills.org Web site. The consumer advocacy organization cited recent research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology showing that bowel-cleansing products containing sodium phosphate are an under-recognized cause of chronic kidney failure in the United States.
Common bowel-cleansing drugs that include sodium phosphate are Visicol, a prescription oral tablet, and the non-prescription product Fleet Phospho-soda. Researchers cite several potential factors that may contribute to the development of kidney problems from sodium phosphate bowel-cleansing agents, including inadequate hydration, history of high blood pressure and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Celebrex and ibuprofen.
Researchers from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York reviewed all of the kidney biopsies that were received in their facility between January 2000 and December 2004 and found 31 patients who had kidney damage that was consistent with phosphate toxicity, 20 of whom took oral phosphate solutions prior to having colonoscopies.
The March updates to the Web site also give consumers information about life-threatening liver toxicity associated with the widely prescribed antibiotic telithromycin (Ketek), as well as information about the increased risk of potentially fatal blood clots associated with the popular birth control patch Ortho Evra.
Worst Pills, Best Pillsis a monthly newsletter available in print and electronic formats through Public Citizen’s Web site, www.WorstPills.org. The article about bowel-cleansing products containing sodium phosphate will be available free on the site for the next seven days. The site has other searchable information about the uses, risks and adverse effects associated with prescription medications, including all the information contained in Public Citizen’s best-selling 2005 book, Worst Pills, Best Pills.
“Worst Pills is an unbiased analysis of information from a variety of sources, including well-regarded medical journals and unpublished data obtained from the Food and Drug Administration that allow us to sound the alarm about potentially dangerous drugs long before they are banned by the federal government,” said Sidney Wolfe, M.D., director and founder of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
Th www.WorstPills.orgWeb site is particularly valuable because Public Citizen has a strong track record of identifying dangerous drugs well before federal regulators take action to ban or put warnings on these drugs. For example, Public Citizen warned consumers about the dangers of Vioxx, ephedra, Baycol and Propulsid years before the drugs were pulled from the market.