Thursday, May 7, 2009
Medical Reports: Prescription for Trouble
A colonoscopy is a lifesaving test that can detect cancer at its earliest stages, but the drugs used to prep for the test can be a prescription for trouble. Seven's Craig Stevens has this special assignment report.
WSVN -- Sarah Hancock thought getting tested for colon cancer was supposed to be a lifesaver, but within hours of her colonoscopy she became violently ill.
Sarah Hancock: "I started throwing up. I was nauseated. I couldn't hold anything down."
Her colon was fine, but her kidneys were suddenly failing.
Sarah Hancock: "I was absolutely shocked. I've never had any kidney problems in my life."
Doctors say the liquid Sarah drank to prepare for the colonoscopy was to blame.
Sarah Hancock: "They told me there was no reverse action, that the only way that I could be helped would be a kidney transplant. In other words, I've lost both of my kidneys."
Patients take a bowel cleanser before a colonoscopy so doctors can get a good look at the colon.
Many of them contain sodium phosphate, a substance that can crystalize in the kidneys, causing permanent damage.
The FDA has received 20 reports of kidney injury associated with the use of sodium phosphate medications. The FDA says: "In some cases, these serious adverse events occurred in patients with no pre-existing health factors that would have put them at risk."
The FDA recommends "consumers not use over-the-counter oral sodium phosphate medications, or OSPs, for bowel-cleansing."
Sarah had taken an over-the-counter product her doctor had suggested.
Attorney: "Her life has been dramatically and tragically changed."
The makers of the product Sarah took have voluntarily pulled it from shelves but maintains it is safe.
Dr. Barry Migicovsky: "I would suggest better safe than sorry. Stay away from the phospho sodas."
Local hospitals we talked to say they try to avoid sodium phosphate products. People who need to have a colonoscopy should know there are safer alternatives out there.
Dr. Barry Migicovsky: "There are FDA-approved preparations such as MoviPrep, GoLYTELY,
TriLyte or other products that are similar to this."
For Sarah, it's information that comes too late.
Her only hope now is a kidney transplant.
Sarah Hancock: "I went to keep myself in good health, and i came out a very sick woman, i have lost my kidneys."
The FDA also says dehydration, medications and other pre-existing medical conditions could have played a role in the kidney failure cases. Your best bet: Talk to your doctor about what prep drug is best for you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Memorial Healthcare System
Dr. Barry Migicovsky
4500 Biscayne Blvd, Miami