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OsmoPrep is an orally administered prescription that people take in order to cleanse their bowels in preparation for gastroenterological procedures. However, the use of OsmoPrep has been linked to serious forms of kidney damage like acute phosphate nephropathy.

OsmoPrep Overview

Developed and distributed by Salix Pharmaceuticals, OsmoPrep is an oral sodium phosphate that was introduced into the U.S. market in 2006. OsmoPrep is intended for the use of bowel cleansing in preparation for gastroenterological procedures. However, the use of oral sodium phosphates like OsmoPrep have been associated with severe forms of kidney damage.

On December 11, 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the strongest safety warning available to oral phosphate drugs that are used before colonoscopies, following reports of kidney damage (acute phosphate nephropathy) in several patients. These drugs include OsmoPrep, Visicol, and Fleet Phospho-Soda.

According to an FDA press release :

“There have been rare, but serious reports of acute phosphate nephropathy in patients who received oral sodium phosphate products for colon cleansing prior to colonoscopy. Some cases have resulted in permanent impairment of renal function, and some patients required long-term dialysis. While some cases have occurred in patients without identifiable risk factors, patients at increased risk of acute phosphate nephropathy may include those with increased age, hypovolemia, increased bowel transit time (such as bowel obstruction), active colitis, or baseline kidney disease, and those using medicines that affect renal perfusion or function (such as diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers [ARBs], and possibly nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs [NSAIDs]).”

Side Effects of OsmoPrep

OsmoPrep side effects include severe forms of kidney damage. In particular acute phosphate nephropathy, a complication characterized by the buildup of calcium-phosphate crystals that can permanently damage proper kidney functions. Oral sodium phosphates like OsmoPrep cause severe dehydration and hyperphosphatemia, both of which can increase phosphate levels in the renal tubules and subject a patient to acute phosphate nephropathy.