Picoprep-3 is a superior colonoscopy preparation to Fleet: a randomized, controlled trial comparing the two bowel preparations

Dis Colon Rectum. 2004 Feb;47(2):238-42. doi: 10.1007/s10350-003-0027-4.


Purpose: Bowel preparations for colonoscopy have to balance the demand for adequate cleansing action of the bowel and patient acceptability. There has been no study comparing Picoprep-3 (sodium picosulfate), a relatively new product, to Fleet (sodium phosphate), a well-studied and widely used preparation. This study was designed to compare the efficacy and patient tolerance of these two bowel preparations for colonoscopy.

Methods: A randomized, single-blinded, prospective trial was conducted. A total of 400 consecutive patients presenting for elective colonoscopy at St George Private Hospital during a 20-week period were randomly assigned to receive Picoprep-3 or Fleet. Patients were asked to record the effects of the preparation, noting tolerability, taste, and side effects. Two hundred patients were assigned to the Picoprep-3 group and 200 to the Fleet group. Surgeons were blinded to the preparation used and rated the quality of the bowel preparation on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the optimal score).

Results: Picoprep-3 was found to be better tolerated (P < 0.0001) and better tasting (P < 0.0001) than Fleet. Patients in the Picoprep-3 group reported significantly less nausea (P < 0.001), vomiting (P < 0.004), dizziness (P < 0.01), abdominal pains (P = 0.0005), and thirst (P < 0.0001) associated with the preparation. There was no significant difference in visualization of the colon between the two groups as judged by the two colonoscopists (P = 0.06).

Conclusions: Colonoscopy preparation with Picoprep-3 has similar efficacy but superior taste and tolerability compared with Fleet. Picoprep-3 caused less adverse side effects in the study population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cathartics / adverse effects
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use*
  • Citrates
  • Colon
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Phosphates / adverse effects
  • Phosphates / therapeutic use*
  • Picolines / adverse effects
  • Picolines / therapeutic use*
  • Rectum
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Cathartics
  • Citrates
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Phosphates
  • Picolines
  • picosulfate sodium
  • sodium phosphate