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Questions & Answers

Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

Administration of sodium phosphate products prior to colonoscopy has resulted in fatalities due to significant fluid shifts, severe electrolyte abnormalities, and cardiac arrhythmias. These fatalities have been observed in patients with renal insufficiency, in patients with bowel perforation, and in patients who misused or overdosed sodium phosphate products. It is recommended that patients receiving Visicol be advised to adequately hydrate before, during, and after the use of Visicol.

Considerable caution should be advised before Visicol Tablets are used in patients with the following illnesses: severe renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance less than 30 mL/minute), congestive heart failure, ascites, unstable angina, acute bowel obstruction, bowel perforation, toxic megacolon, gastric retention, ileus, pseudo-obstruction of the bowel, severe chronic constipation, acute colitis, gastric bypass or stapling surgery or hypomotility syndrome.

Consider performing baseline and post-colonoscopy labs (phosphate, calcium, potassium, sodium, creatinine, and BUN) in patients who may be at increased risk for serious adverse events, including those with history of renal insufficiency, history of ─ or at greater risk of ─ acute phosphate nephropathy, known or suspected electrolyte disorders (such as dehydration), seizures, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, prolonged QT, recent history of a MI and those with known or suspected hyperphosphatemia, hypocalcemia, hypokalemia, and hypernatremia. Also if patients develop vomiting and/or signs of dehydration then measure post-colonoscopy labs (phosphate, calcium, potassium, sodium, creatinine, and BUN).

Renal Disease, Acute Phosphate Nephropathy, and Electrolyte Disorders
There have been rare, but serious reports of renal failure, acute phosphate nephropathy, and nephrocalcinosis in patients who received oral sodium phosphate products (including oral sodium phosphate solutions and tablets) for colon cleansing prior to colonoscopy. These cases often resulted in permanent impairment of renal function and several patients required long-term dialysis. The time to onset is typically within days; however, in some cases, the diagnosis of these events has been delayed up to several months after the ingestion of these products. Patients at increased risk of acute phosphate nephropathy may include patients with the following: hypovolemia, baseline kidney disease, increased age, and patients using medicines that affect renal perfusion or function [such as diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and possibly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Use Visicol with caution in patients with impaired renal function, known or suspected electrolyte disturbances (such as dehydration), or people taking concomitant medications that may affect electrolyte levels (such as diuretics). Patients with electrolyte abnormalities such as hypernatremia, hyperphosphatemia, hypokalemia, or hypocalcemia should have them corrected before treatment with Visicol Tablets.

There have been rare reports of generalized tonic-clonic seizures and/or loss of consciousness associated with use of sodium phosphate products in patients with no prior history of seizures. The seizure cases were associated with electrolyte abnormalities (e.g., hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, and hypomagnesemia) and low serum osmolality. The neurologic abnormalities resolved with correction of fluid and electrolyte abnormalities. Visicol should be used with caution in patients with a history of seizures and in patients at higher risk of seizure [patients using concomitant medications that lower the seizure threshold (such as tricyclic antidepressants), patients withdrawing from alcohol or benzodiazepines, or patients with known or suspected hyponatremia].

Cardiac Arrhythmias
There have been rare, but serious reports of arrhythmias associated with the use of sodium phosphate products. Visicol should be used with caution in patients with higher risk of arrhythmias (patients with a history of cardiomyopathy, patients with prolonged QT, patients with a history of uncontrolled arrhythmias, and patients with a recent history of a myocardial infarction). Pre-dose and post-colonoscopy ECGs should be considered in patients with high risk of serious, cardiac arrhythmias.

Legal Issues

There is currently no legal information available for this drug.

FDA Safety Alerts

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Manufacturer Warnings

There is currently no manufacturer warning information available for this drug.

FDA Labeling Changes

There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.


Visicol Tablets are indicated for cleansing of the colon as a preparation for colonoscopy in adults 18 years of age or older.


There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

Visicol® (sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, USP, and sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, USP) is a purgative used to clean the colon prior to colonoscopy. Visicol Tablets are white to off-white compressed tablets, with a monogram "I" on each side of the upper surface and a plain lower surface. Each tablet contains 1.102 grams of sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, USP and 0.398 grams of sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, USP for a total of 1.5 grams of sodium phosphate per tablet. Inert ingredients include microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), NF; magnesium stearate, NF; and colloidal silicon dioxide, NF. Visicol is gluten-free.

The structural and molecular formulae and molecular weights of the active ingredients are shown below:

  • Sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, USP

    Molecular formula

    Molecular Formula: NaH2PO4•H2O
    Molecular Weight: 137.99
  • Sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, USP

    Molecular forumla

    Molecular Formula: Na2HPO4
    Molecular Weight: 141.96

Visicol Tablets are for oral administration only.

Visicol Manufacturers

  • Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc
    Visicol (Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic, Monohydrate, And Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic Anhydrous) Tablet [Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc]

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