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Concerns over Screening for Bowel Cancer in London

Posted Jul 01 2009 6:47pm

Prior to endoscopy, patients are asked to take a bowel preparation as it is
necessary to ‘clear the system’. However, Prof Owen Epstein and colleagues
at the Royal Free Hospital have published a paper that raises serious
concerns over the safety of these products. This then naturally raises the
question over whether or not is safe for normal, healthy people to be
screened for bowel cancer.

Prof Epstein has studied all the papers on this subject and found that there
are serious worries about the use of these products. The most commonly
reported ’significant events included the following:

  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Renal failure
  • Colonic ulceration
  • Mallory-Weiss tear
  • Allergic reactions

He says that it is not possible to know the rates of these side-effects, but
that in one year, last year 171 cases of renal failure alone were reported
to the FDA.

He reports on two types of product; those containing sodium phosphate (NaP),
and a second lot that use polyethylene glycol (PEG). NaP seems to be
responsible for a greater number of adverse events, but PEG is also
indicated.

It is well known that phosphates are toxic – especially in dialysis
patients,  so it does raise serious questions as to whether these medicines are appropriate for
use. Indeed the company C.B. Fleet have issued an immediate product recall
and we are still waiting for a response from the other manufacturers.

This raises many questions and we hope to be able to bring you some answers
shortly.

Read the full story here.

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Tags: Bowel cancer

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