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Fleet Phospho-Soda: What it Is and What it Does

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Fleet Phospho-soda is a medication used to cleanse the bowels in preparation for colonoscopy, endoscopy, or intestinal surgery.

It is composed of sodium biphosphate and sodium phosphate. It is thought that the sodium component draws water into the bowel and promotes evacuation of feces while the phosphates appear to stimulate peristalsis (muscle contractions that move the bowels).

Oral sodium phosphate laxatives, like Fleet Phospho-soda, Visicol, OsmoPrep, and their generic counterparts, are very effective in clearing the gastrointestinal tract prior to medical procedures. These medications are also effective in lower doses for relief of infrequent constipation. Unfortunately, these products are also associated with severe adverse effects, the most serious of which is acute injury to the kidneys.

Fleet recalls Phospho-soda products

Because these drugs pull water into the bowels, patients are at risk for dehydration. If these patients are also taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or diuretics, or have any pre-existing kidney problems, the dehydration increases the danger of kidney problems. Dehydration also puts patients at risk of elevated sodium and electrolyte levels in the blood. These levels can cause serious abnormalities in heart rhythms.

Do You Have A Phosphate Laxatives Case? »

Other electrolyte issues include brief hyperphosphatemia, or elevated phosphate levels, and reactive hypophosphatemia, or exceedingly low phosphate levels, a few days after ingesting the drug. Hyperphosphatemia can cause bone disease or heart disease and will damage the kidneys. Hypophosphatemia can cause confusion and heart muscle damage. Some patients also may develop hypocalcemia (low calcium levels) and hypokalemia (low potassium levels). Hypocalcemia can irritate the nervous system and result in spasms. In the long term hypocalcemia leads to osteoporosis. Hypokalemia can change heart rhythms and break down muscle fibers.

Patients who have existing bowel irritation and inflammation may be more prone to kidney issues while taking a sodium phosphate based laxative. Anyone taking medication for heart disease, kidney problems, or blood pressure regulation has an increased chance of sustaining injury to the kidneys. The most serious side effect of these drugs is kidney damage. Acute phosphate nephropathy due to crystal formation related to oral sodium phosphate drugs can cause acute renal failure.

Contact Our Fleet Phospho-Soda Lawyers Today »

Because of the risk of kidney damage, Fleet voluntarily recalled its over the counter Phospho-soda products. Prescription oral sodium phosphate drugs, Visico and OsmoPrep, have been required by the FDA to include black box warning labels detailing the increased risk for acute phosphate nephropathy. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with acute phosphate nephropathy or renal failure following the use of an oral sodium phosphate product, consult a legal representative to learn exactly what your legal options are.

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