Fatal hyperphosphatemia following Fleet Phospo-Soda in a patient with colonic ileus

Am J Gastroenterol. 1993 Jun;88(6):929-32.


A fatal case of hyperphosphatemia secondary to enteral administration of Fleet Phospo-Soda is presented. A 64-yr-old male admitted for theophylline toxicity was treated with activated charcoal and sorbitol, but subsequently developed colonic ileus. Two sequential doses of Phospo-Soda were administered to facilitate clearance of the charcoal; however, this resulted in marked hyperphosphatemia, hypocalcemia, acidemia, and other electrolyte abnormalities, followed by the patient's demise. This case is added to several other reports about the risks of injudicious use of sodium phosphate cathartics.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Charcoal / therapeutic use
  • Colonic Diseases / etiology
  • Colonic Diseases / therapy*
  • Enema*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology
  • Intestinal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphates / adverse effects*
  • Phosphates / blood*
  • Sorbitol / therapeutic use
  • Theophylline / poisoning
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / chemically induced*


  • Phosphates
  • Charcoal
  • Sorbitol
  • Theophylline
  • sodium phosphate