Colonoscopy Prep Kidney Failure Lawsuits Filed Over Fleet Phospho-soda

Four new Fleet Phospho soda lawsuits were filed last week against C.B. Fleet Co. alleging that they promoted their over-the-counter laxative at double doses for use during colonoscopy prep, which caused the plaintiffs to develop severe and potentially life-threatening kidney failure.

The lawsuits were filed on behalf of two women and two men from Virginia, with each case seeking more than $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages as a result of kidney problems caused by the colonoscopy prep.

Fleet Phospho-soda is an oral sodium phosphate solution which was available without a prescription for use as a laxative until it was recalled in December 2008. However, for over 15 years, C.B. Fleet Co. promoted use of the solution at double doses to cleanse the bowels as part of colonoscopy prep.

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To allow a doctor to examine the large colon and part of the small bowel during a colonoscopy, it is necessary for the colon to be free of solid matter. Therefore, patients are asked to alter their diet for up to three days before the procedure and purgatives are often administered to clear out the bowels.

Although the oral Fleet laxative was not approved by the FDA for use during bowel prep, the manufacturer encouraged doctors to recommend that their patients purchase two bottles of Phosphosoda to use a double dose of the laxative to cleanse the bowels instead of using an alternative colonoscopy prep product.

The colonoscopy kidney failure lawsuits allege that C.B. Fleet Co. continued to promote higher doses of their product despite knowledge that it could cause a form of kidney failure known as acute phosphate nephropathy, which could result in the need for dialysis treatment or the need for a kidney transplant.

All four of the plaintiffs took double doses of Fleet Phospho-soda, which did not contain information about the health risks associated with the use of the laxative at double doses.

According to the Roanoke Times, none of the four plaintiffs had a history of kidney problems before taking the double dose of Fleet Phospho-soda and all have since developed kidney failure. One of the plaintiffs has also required dialysis treatment for his failed kidneys and another will likely require a kidney transplant.

7 Comments

  • MaryMay 28, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    I was given Fleet prep. Never got so sick in my life. Thought I was going to die before my colonoscopy. Normal healthy person before slowly loss my kidneys normal function. See a specialist for failing kidneys. Had procedure in 2013.

  • PaulApril 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I had kidney failure after taking the flet sodium phosphate to prepare for a colonoscopy.

  • MiriamMay 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    My colon cancer surgery @ KaiserPermanente, Walnut Creek on 9/10/01-great surgeon/left immediately after to serve in reserves after 9/11! Prior to cancer diagnosis - had (at least 3 or 4? so called "routine"?) Fleet Preps prior to sigmoid/colonoscopies. Initially and each time non-stop flu symptoms, became very sick w/loose bowels/kidneys constipation/bleeding, weight gain (puffy) extreme fatigu[Show More]My colon cancer surgery @ KaiserPermanente, Walnut Creek on 9/10/01-great surgeon/left immediately after to serve in reserves after 9/11! Prior to cancer diagnosis - had (at least 3 or 4? so called "routine"?) Fleet Preps prior to sigmoid/colonoscopies. Initially and each time non-stop flu symptoms, became very sick w/loose bowels/kidneys constipation/bleeding, weight gain (puffy) extreme fatigue. After 1st Prep for test ('99) - my tongue got so coated-still coats (brush teeth non-stop), ankles/legs/feet swell, excruciating all over body pain, difficult to travel w/unpredictable loss of control of kidneys/bowels. Regular blood test show I am cancer free - health is very poor . I did not take chemo/radiation after surgery, only natural remedies (i.e., mangosteen, etc), baby aspirin helps w/pain - learned to cope w/pre-existing symptoms since the 1st Fleet Prep. I take no prescriptions, new ins. Dr (w/AARP) recently put me on high dose Vit. D - serious deficiency. I take the best vitamins, follow health rules of Dr. Oz and pray. My serious health issues began immediately after my 1st Prep (Fleet) for "routine" colonoscopy (10 yrs ago) and escalated. To date, I refuse to go thru another Fleet Prep for any colonoscopy now at 73 and will just keep-keeping on in hopes of a better health day.

  • DebraDecember 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I used the double dose of Fleet a few months back, that the pharmacy sells otc, for my colonoscopy, and have been getting bad swelling in my lower extremities. I couldn't understand why. Maybe the Fleet?

  • rickeyNovember 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    my legs swelled up so big and tight my family could not understand why, also weight gain and plus on metfromin for diabetes. i am the only one in my family wiht diabetes, i use fleet for a colonoscopy in 1999

  • AngelaMay 1, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I was, I thought, a healthy 32 year old woman 11 years ago when I was diagnosed with Stage 0 (in situ) colon cancer. After surgery and a 6 week healing process, my doctor ordered a colonoscopy to see if the cancer had spread. I was ordered to fast and take floss soda--the most vile chemical I have ever put in my body. Almost immediately I began having near-constant pain in my right kidney. After c[Show More]I was, I thought, a healthy 32 year old woman 11 years ago when I was diagnosed with Stage 0 (in situ) colon cancer. After surgery and a 6 week healing process, my doctor ordered a colonoscopy to see if the cancer had spread. I was ordered to fast and take floss soda--the most vile chemical I have ever put in my body. Almost immediately I began having near-constant pain in my right kidney. After countless trips to numerous local doctors and ER visits in varying degrees of pain, because I didn't have any "kidney stones they could see" I was sent off with the "we don't know, maybe it's all in your head or you are drug seeking" even though I was a full-time employeed career woman with four children. After over 10 years and daily discomfort and pain I now feel vindicated that it wasn't all in my head and the medical profession actually harmed my health. Currently, I live in Florida and while I am a professional, I have no health insurance and even if I did this would be considered a pre-existing condition even though the doctors never gave me a true diagnosis. I am angry that a test that was meant to help save my life may now actually help end it....

  • AnneApril 3, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I had used Fleet prior to my lap done for endometriosis. Months later I began swelling in my legs to the tune of 37 pounds. Two trips to the ER finally triggered my MD to consider my kidneys. Now under the care of a nephrologist, I am on prednisone for more than 2 years now for a form of glomeruleonephritis callem Minimal Change Disease. This is an ongoing battle and my swelling has still not subs[Show More]I had used Fleet prior to my lap done for endometriosis. Months later I began swelling in my legs to the tune of 37 pounds. Two trips to the ER finally triggered my MD to consider my kidneys. Now under the care of a nephrologist, I am on prednisone for more than 2 years now for a form of glomeruleonephritis callem Minimal Change Disease. This is an ongoing battle and my swelling has still not subsided, although it is much better, but will never be the same.

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