Effects of oral sodium picosulphate Picolax® on urea and electrolytes
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Effects of oral sodium picosulphate Picolax® on urea and electrolytes

Fran Ryan Cluster director for Wythenshawe, South Manchester Primary Care Trust
Tina Anobile Research and development facilitator, Halton General Hospital, Cheshire
Diane Scutt Director of research in health sciences, University of Liverpool
Marion Hopwood Lead nurse, Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network, Cheshire
Gerry Murphy Consultant radiologist, Manchester Royal Infirmary

Aim To investigate the effects of sodium picosulphate (Picolax®) oral bowel preparation on levels of serum urea, electrolytes and glucose in patients undergoing bowel preparation for barium enema.

Method A prospective, non-randomised, pre-test and post-test trial was conducted with 144 patients aged 34-87 years, who had agreed to undergo a barium enema. Changes in serum urea, sodium, potassium, magnesium and glucose following Picolax® treatment were investigated.

Results There were statistically significant post-Picolax® reductions in serum concentrations of urea (mean difference 0.556 (95 per cent confidence intervals (CI) 0.321-0.791) mmol/L), sodium (mean difference 1.299 (0.799-1.799) mmol/L) and potassium (mean difference 0.163 (0.0853-0.241) mmol/L). Similar findings were observed for sodium and urea when the sample was stratified according to age: under 60 years (n=56) or 60 years and over (n=88). However, there was no significant change in potassium in patients aged under 60 years.

Conclusion In normal circumstances, use of Picolax® oral bowel preparation results in a statistically, but not clinically, significant reduction in concentration of serum urea, sodium and potassium.

Nursing Standard. 19, 45, 41-45. doi: 10.7748/ns2005.



Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review