Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 926–935

A Validated Bowel-Preparation Tolerability Questionnaire and Assessment of Three Commonly Used Bowel-Cleansing Agents

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10620-012-2449-0

Cite this article as:
Lawrance, I.C., Willert, R.P. & Murray, K. Dig Dis Sci (2013) 58: 926. doi:10.1007/s10620-012-2449-0


Background and Study Aims

Bowel-cleansing studies are frequently underpowered, poorly designed, and with subjective assessments. Consensus on tolerability of the bowel-cleansing agents is thus lacking. This study developed and validated a bowel-preparation tolerability questionnaire and used it to assess the tolerability of three bowel-cleansing agents, sodium phosphate (NaP), polyethylene glycol (PEG), and sodium picosulphate (Pico), in a prospective randomized single-blinded trial of ambulatory patients.

Patients and Methods

The bowel-preparation tolerability questionnaire was validated in 125 consecutive patients and then bowel-preparation agent tolerability was assessed in 634 patients in a prospective randomized single-blinded trial.


The questionnaire’s internal consistency was satisfactory with good to excellent “test–retest” reliability for aggregate tolerability and visual analogue scores. Validity assessment confirmed it as reliable and accurate. Of 634 patients, 97.8 % took >75 % of the allocated preparation and 98.9 % completed the questionnaire. Overall, Pico was better tolerated than PEG (p < 0.001) and NaP (p < 0.001). NaP was better tolerated than PEG (p < 0.001). Regardless of the bowel-preparation agent used, males tolerated them better than females (p = 0.009) as did patients having their procedure in the AM. Older patients, however, tolerated all preparations better than younger patients (p = 0.006).


This study used the first validated bowel-preparation tolerability questionnaire and identified that age, sex, and procedure time all impacted tolerability. Overall, Pico was best tolerated, but PEG’s tolerability in patients ≥60 years was equal to that of Pico and NaP, suggesting that PEG can be recommended for older patients to avoid the electrolyte disturbances associated with the osmotic preparations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Inflammatory Bowel DiseasesFremantle HospitalFremantleAustralia
  2. 2.The School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Fremantle HospitalUniversity of Western AustraliaFremantleAustralia
  3. 3.Statistical Consulting Group, School of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia