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Drugs

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 123–136 | Cite as

Sodium Picosulfate/Magnesium Citrate

A Review of its Use as a Colorectal Cleanser
  • Sheridan M. Hoy
  • Lesley J. Scott
  • Antona J. Wagstaff
Adis Drug Evaluation

Summary

Abstract

Oral sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate (CitraFleet®; Picolax®), consisting of sodium picosulfate (a stimulant laxative) and magnesium citrate (an osmotic laxative), is approved for use in adults (CitraFleet®; Picolax®) and/or adolescents and children (Picolax®) as a colorectal cleansing agent prior to any diagnostic procedure (e.g. colonoscopy or x-ray examination) requiring a clean bowel and/or surgery. It is dispensed in powder form (sodium picosulfate 0.01 g, magnesium oxide 3.5 g, citric acid 12.0 g per sachet), with the magnesium oxide and citric acid components forming magnesium citrate when the powder is dissolved in water.

In adult patients, two sachets of sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate was at least as effective and well tolerated as oral magnesium citrate 17.7 or 35.4 g, or oral polyethylene glycol 236 g in adult patients undergoing a double-contrast barium enema procedure in three large, randomized, comparative clinical studies. In contrast, sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate was less effective than a sodium phosphate enema preparation in two studies in patients undergoing flexible sigmoidoscopy. A similar number of patients receiving two sachets of sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate or two 45 mL doses of oral sodium phosphate the day before a double-contrast barium enema procedure achieved satisfactory barium coating and none/minimal faecal residue in one study. However, the data from three of these studies should be interpreted with caution because the administrative regimens used differed from that recommended. Sodium picosulfate/ magnesium citrate is also an effective and generally well tolerated colorectal cleansing agent in children and adolescents; the preparation was more effective than oral bisacodyl 0.01 or 0.02 g plus a sodium phosphate enema preparation in this population. Further research is thus required to accurately position sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate and fully establish its efficacy and tolerability prior to various exploratory or surgical procedures. Nevertheless, oral sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate provides a useful option in the preparation of the colon and rectum in adults, adolescents and children undergoing any diagnostic procedure (e.g. colonoscopy or x-ray examination) requiring a clean bowel and/or surgery.

Pharmacological Properties

Oral sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate acts locally in the colon as both a stimulant laxative, by increasing the frequency and the force of peristalsis (sodium picosulfate component), and an osmotic laxative, by retaining fluids in the colon (magnesium citrate component), to clear the colon and rectum of faecal contents. It is not absorbed in any detectable quantities. Sodium picosulfate is a prodrug: it is hydrolyzed by bacteria in the colon to the active metabolite 4,4′-dihydroxydiphenyl-(2-pyridyl)methane.

Sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate may be associated with a dehydrating effect, as evidenced by a reduction in bodyweight and increased haemoglobin levels; some at-risk patients may experience postural hypotension and older patients may require additional electrolytes.

Clinical Efficacy

In three large (n > 100), randomized, single-blind clinical studies, two sachets of oral sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate was at least as effective as oral magnesium citrate 17.7 or 35.4 g, or oral polyethylene glycol 236 g as a colorectal cleansing agent in adult patients undergoing a double-contrast barium enema procedure. In contrast, sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate was less effective than a sodium phosphate enema preparation in two studies in patients undergoing flexible sigmoidoscopy. A similar number of patients receiving two sachets of sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate or two 45 mL doses of oral sodium phosphate the day before a double-contrast barium enema procedure achieved satisfactory barium coating and none/minimal faecal residue in one study. However, the data from three of these studies should be interpreted with caution because the administrative regimens used differed from that recommended.

In children and adolescents, sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate was significantly more effective as a colorectal cleansing agent than oral bisacodyl 0.01 or 0.02 g plus a sodium phosphate enema preparation in a randomized, single-blind study; dosages were adjusted for age in this study.

Tolerability

Oral sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate is generally well tolerated in adult patients undergoing various investigational colorectal procedures. Adverse events were generally mild to moderate in intensity and mainly gastrointestinal in nature (e.g. abdominal cramps/pain, nausea); other common treatment-emergent adverse events included disturbance of daily activity, headache and sleep disturbance. This combination is at least as well tolerated as oral sodium phosphate or oral polyethylene glycol, with moderate/severe nausea and vomiting occurring less frequently in sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate recipients than in those receiving oral sodium phosphate, and abdominal bloating/pain and nausea developing less often with sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate than polyethylene glycol therapy.

The incidence of abdominal pain and sleep disturbance in sodium picosulfate/ magnesium citrate versus oral magnesium citrate recipients was similar in one study, but significantly lower with sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate in another. While the incidence of most adverse events was similar in recipients of sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate and a sodium phosphate enema preparation, more patients receiving sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate reported moderate/severe flatulence, incontinence and sleep disturbance, and more patients receiving the enema preparation reported rectal soreness. The tolerability profile of sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate in patients aged >70 years is reportedly similar to that in patients aged <70 years.

Abdominal pain also occurred less frequently with sodium picosulfate/ magnesium citrate than with oral bisacodyl plus a sodium phosphate enema preparation in children and adolescents.

Keywords

Polyethylene Glycol Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Oral Sodium Magnesium Citrate Stimulant Laxative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheridan M. Hoy
    • 1
  • Lesley J. Scott
    • 1
  • Antona J. Wagstaff
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolters Kluwer Health ¦ AdisMairangi Bay, North Shore 0754, AucklandNew Zealand

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