A colonoscopy is performed to prevent colorectal cancer and it is effective in saving lives. However, the preparation for the colonoscopy can be dangerous. In order for a complete colonoscopy to take place, patients must take certain drugs to empty the gastrointestinal tract. Until December 2008, one popular drug used for this purpose was the over the counter sodium phosphate drug Fleet Phospho-soda manufactured by C.B. Fleet. Fleet Phospho-soda is no longer allowed without a prescription in large part due to its connection with acute renal failure.
What is Acute Renal Failure?
Acute renal failure is the rapid loss of kidney function that occurs because of damage to the kidneys. It is a serious condition that must be treated as a medical emergency in order to prevent fatalities. There are three types of acute renal failure: pre-renal, post-renal and intrinsic. Intrinsic acute renal failure refers to damage to the kidneys themselves. It is the most serious of the three types of acute renal failure because it is the least likely to be reversed. The type of acute renal failure caused by sodium phosphates taken in preparation for a colonoscopy is intrinsic acute renal failure.
How Does Fleet Phospho-Soda Result in Acute Renal Failure?
Sodium phosphates, such as Fleet Phospho-Soda, can result in acute phosphate nephropathy. Phosphate nephropathy happens when phosphate crystals form in the renal tubes, causing kidney damage, and possibly causing acute renal failure. The risk for developing this serious side effect from sodium phosphates increases with age, dehydration, hypertension and if the patient is taking certain drugs. Other drugs used to prepare patients for colonoscopies that are not sodium phosphates do not appear to present the same risks to patients.
What Should You Do If You Develop Acute Renal Failure After Taking Fleet Phospho-soda?
Acute renal failure is a medical emergency. If you experience swelling, little or no urine output, thirst, pain, a rapid heart rate, feelings of confusion, restlessness, lethargy, nausea or vomiting after taking a sodium phosphate then you should go to your nearest emergency room.
After seeking medical care, you should contact a Fleet Phospho-soda law firm. A Fleet Phospho-soda attorney will meet with you to review your claim. Your lawyer may suggest that you join an existing Fleet Phospho-soda class action or lawsuit or that you proceed with an individual claim. Either way you can make sure that your legal rights are protected and that you have the opportunity to seek damages when you contact a fleet phospho-soda side effects lawyer.