Comparison of colon-cleansing methods in preparation for colonoscopy--comparative efficacy of solutions of mannitol, sodium picosulfate and monobasic and dibasic sodium phosphates

Acta Cir Bras. 2008:23 Suppl 1:108-11; discussion 111. doi: 10.1590/s0102-86502008000700018.


Purpose: Colonoscopy plays an essential role in the therapeutic and diagnostic approach in various colonic pathologies, the aim of the present study was to compare three solutions and their efficacy for the bowel preparation in adult patients submitted to elective colonoscopy.

Methods: Sixty patients were randomly divided into three groups of 20 each. Each group was submitted to a bowel preparation with one of the following solutions: 10% manitol, sodium picosulphate or sodium phosphate. The parameters evaluated were: taste, tolerance, associated side effects and quality of cleansing. Postural blood pressure and pulse rate as well as serum sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphate were compared.

Results: Sodium phosphate and 10% manitol solutions provided superior results in terms of colon cleansing compared to sodium picosulphate solution. All serum electrolytes evaluated were significantly altered in the three groups, without important clinical signs.

Discussion: High levels of serum phosphate were the most striking alteration in patients prepared with sodium phosphate solution, again with no clinical signs. Variations related to blood pressure and pulse rate suggested contraction of intravascular volume, with no clinical effects.

Conclusion: Sodium phosphate and 10% manitol solutions are equivalent in providing good quality colon cleansing, with no significant side effects that could compromise the procedure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use*
  • Citrates
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Diuretics, Osmotic / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mannitol / therapeutic use*
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Phosphates / therapeutic use*
  • Picolines / therapeutic use*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Preoperative Care / standards*
  • Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cathartics
  • Citrates
  • Diuretics, Osmotic
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Phosphates
  • Picolines
  • Solutions
  • Mannitol
  • picosulfate sodium
  • sodium phosphate