Methylene blue MMX® tablets for chromoendoscopy. Bioavailability, colon staining and safety in healthy volunteers undergoing a full colonoscopy

Contemp Clin Trials. 2018 Aug:71:96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 2.


Methylene blue-MMX® tablets are proposed as an aid for detection and visualisation of adenomas and carcinomas in patients undergoing colonoscopy, by improving their detection rate and highlighting the presence of the intestinal dysplastic lesions. Single total doses of 100 and 200 mg were administered to healthy volunteers undergoing a bowel cleansing preparation and a full colonoscopy to investigate the colonic staining. The pharmacokinetics of methylene blue and the safety after exposure to the tablets were also investigated. With 200 mg, the best staining, assessed as the sum of acceptable and good staining, was achieved in the ascending colon and rectosigmoid (75% subjects each), the transverse and the descending colon (approximately 63% each). Absence of staining or overstaining were reported for no colonic region of interest in any subject. Similar results were observed in the 100 mg dose group. Methylene blue blood concentrations reached a peak (Cmax) in a median time (Tmax) of 12 h with 100 mg and 16 h with 200 mg. AUC0-t was 10.7 ± 6.7 μg/mLxh after 100 mg and 25.2 ± 7.4 μg/mLxh after 200 mg. Half-life ranged between 9 and 22 h after the lower dose and between 6 and 26 h after the higher dose. The cumulative urinary excretion was about 28% after 100 mg and about 39% after 200 mg up to 60 h post-dose. The overall frequency of adverse events after single dose of the test product administered along with a bowel cleansing preparation was 39%, but only one was related to the test product: abnormal transaminases. The most frequent adverse event was a transient polyuria (17%). One serious adverse event (gastrointestinal haemorrhage) led the subject to study discontinuation and hospitalisation and another subject withdrew the study due to one adverse event (haematemesis). Either event was not related to methylene blue.

Keywords: Chromoendoscopy; Healthy subjects; MMX; Methylene blue; Pharmacokinetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use
  • Colon* / diagnostic imaging
  • Colon* / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Coloring Agents / administration & dosage
  • Coloring Agents / adverse effects
  • Coloring Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Enhancement / standards
  • Male
  • Methylene Blue* / administration & dosage
  • Methylene Blue* / adverse effects
  • Methylene Blue* / pharmacokinetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality Improvement
  • Renal Elimination
  • Staining and Labeling* / methods
  • Staining and Labeling* / standards


  • Cathartics
  • Coloring Agents
  • Methylene Blue