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Kidney Injury Related to Prescription Bowel-Cleansing before Colonoscopy

Kidney Injury Related to Prescription Bowel-Cleansing before Colonoscopy

On December 11, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that manufacturers of prescription bowel cleansing products Visicol and OsmoPrep add a "black box" warning to the labeling about the risk of acute phosphate nephropathy. These drugs, known as oral sodium phosphates (OSP), are used to help cleanse the bowels prior to colonoscopies or so-called "virtual colonoscopies," computed tomography colonoscopies. The FDA is also warning against the use of over-the-counter varieties of OSP such as Fleet Phospho-soda, although it cannot require

Acute phosphate nephropathy is a rare but potentially deadly kidney condition in which phosphate crystals precipitate in the tiny blood vessels of the kidney, blocking its ability to cleanse the blood. In some cases, the crystals can be made to dissolve, but often the result is permanent kidney damage, requiring dialysis or kidney transplant. Complete renal failure and death can also result.

The greatest risk for acute phosphate nephropathy is seen among patients who:

  • Are over the age of 55
  • Have active colitis
  • Have had previous kidney problems
  • Have narrow blood vessels
  • Are using medications that affect renal function such as diuretics, some heart medications, and NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc.)

In some cases, persons with no prior history and no other risk factors suffered serious kidney injury. In fact, some studies indicate that every patient who uses OSP is at a greater risk of acute kidney injury compared to patients who used a different bowel cleanser product prior to colonoscopies.

Since 2006, there have been at least 20 cases of acute kidney injury associated with the use of OSP bowel cleansers, of which 3 were confirmed cases of acute phosphate nephropathy. If you have used OSP, look out for the following symptoms that can be associated with kidney injury or acute phosphate nephropathy:

  • General feelings of being unwell
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased urine
  • Swelling of the lower extremities (legs, ankles, feet)

These symptoms can appear from a few hours to nearly a month after using OSP products.

If you or a loved one is or has suffered any symptoms of acute kidney injury following the use of OSP bowel cleansing products, you should first contact your doctor. And if you have been diagnosed with acute kidney injury, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills and personal injury through a defective product lawsuit and/or a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Please schedule an OSP injury consultation with the Norfolk, Virginia pharmaceutical litigation lawyers at Kalfus & Nachman, Attorneys at Law to learn more.


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