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Fleet Phospho-Soda and Preexisting Medical Conditions: What You Need to Know

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Fleet Phospho-soda is an oral sodium phosphate laxative.

It is used to cleanse the intestinal tract prior to colonoscopic or other diagnostic evaluations of the colon or intestines. The laxative works by pulling fluid into the bowel and promoting peristalsis, thereby evacuating the complete contents of the colon and rectum so that the areas can be clearly visualized for diagnostic purposes. This preparation can be extremely dangerous for all patients, but particularly so for those with certain preexisting medical conditions.

Patients with hypertension may already have sustained damage to the kidneys. The higher pressure with which the blood is forced through the kidneys can decrease the ability of the kidneys to effectively filter toxins from the blood. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Some medications used to control high blood pressure are diuretics and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Diuretics will add to the dehydrating effects of the oral sodium phosphate laxatives and leave the patient more prone to acute phosphate nephropathy. ACE inhibitors may worsen kidney function by causing a patient to retain too much potassium. This electrolyte imbalance also places increased strain on the kidneys.

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Patients with diabetes may have sustained kidney damage due to elevated blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is too high, some of the sugar molecules may push through the kidney and cause damage. As this continues to occur, the damage to the kidneys may become extensive. Because of the high incidence of impaired kidney function in diabetics, use of Fleet Phospho-soda and similar bowel cleansing treatments could cause tremendous damage to the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.

Electrolyte imbalances are related to abnormalities in the kidneys. The kidneys are key in the regulation of fluid retention and excretion as well as maintaining balanced electrolytes in the body. A patient who is already prone to electrolyte imbalances may suffer severe damage to the kidneys if oral sodium phosphate laxatives are used. The large amount of fluid loss and tendency toward dehydration may exaggerate the effect on electrolyte balance and result in kidney damage.

Patients whose kidneys are already compromised by illness, injury, or disease should not use products such as Fleet Phospho-soda. These products have been connected to devastating kidney damage and acute phosphate nephropathy leading to kidney failure.

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The risk of using Fleet Phospho-soda and other oral sodium phosphate laxative preparations for bowel cleansing is high for all patients. Those patients with preexisting medical conditions should seriously weigh the risks of taking the preparations before ingesting. Any patient who had a preexisting condition and sustained acute phosphate nephropathy or kidney failure after taking Fleet Phospho-soda should consult with a legal representative for advice.

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