The Efficacy of Senna Bowel Preparation for Colonoscopy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Gastroenterol Nurs. 2022 Nov-Dec;45(6):428-439. doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000664. Epub 2022 Jun 25.


The quality of bowel preparation is an extremely important determinant of colonoscopy results. However, the efficacy of senna regimens in improving bowel cleanliness is uncertain. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize data on whether using a senna bowel preparation regimen enhances the bowel cleanliness. We searched Web of Science Core Collection, MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Scopus databases (from the inception to August 2021). The primary efficacy outcome was bowel cleanliness. Secondary outcomes included patient compliance, tolerance, and adverse events. Eleven trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria (3,343 patients. Overall, we found no significant differences in bowel cleanliness between the senna regimen and other bowel preparation regimens (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.02 [0.63, 1.67], p = 0.93). There was significant difference in tolerance (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.66 [1.08, 2.54], p = .02) and compliance (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 3.05 [1.42, 6.55], p = .004). The senna regimen yielded a significantly greater proportion of no nausea (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.84 [1.45, 2.32]) and vomiting (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.65 [0.81, 3.35]). Compared with other bowel preparation regimens, the senna regimen may be effective and safe in bowel cleaning before colonoscopy, with superior compliance and tolerance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cathartics*
  • Colonoscopy* / methods
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Sennosides


  • Cathartics
  • Sennosides
  • Polyethylene Glycols