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Colonoscopy Prep in a Pill May Be Easier to Swallow


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Colonoscopy Prep in a Pill May Be Easier to Swallow

Our Review Summary

No info on costs, on harms, or on the scope of benefits – and nothing on the real important measure of whether the approach improved the detection of colon cancer. 


Why This Matters

An improved method of colon prep for colonoscopy would be appreciated by many.  But we’re not given sufficient information in this story to judge the true possible merits of the approach the story promotes by simply rewriting a news release.


Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

All the story says is that "Those who took the combination of the pill and liquid were better able to tolerate the preparation than were those who drank a gallon of a mixture of polyethylene glycol and electrolytes."  Does that mean EVERYONE?  We weren’t told.

As stated above, we’d also like to know how doctors judged the effectiveness of the colon prep of the pill & liquid approach vs. liquid alone.

And did it lead to better detection of colon problems? 

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of potential harms of lubiprostone (Amitiza).

For its other approved uses, the company lists side effects of nausea, diarrhea, headache and abdominal pain. 

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story lacks details on the evidence that REALLY matters – how good a job did the combination of pill & liquid do in cleansing and prepping the colon for examination?  And did it help detect colon cancer any better?  We were’t told.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  There was no meaningful discussion of colon cancer, so there was no opportunity for disease-mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

Only the lead investigator of a study funded by the drug company was quoted.  There was no disclosure of any financial tie between the researcher and the company.   Independent gastroenterologists’ perspectives would have helped make the story more credible.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Only an incomplete and shallow comparison with liquid colon preps.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Are doctors using this pill for colon prep yet?  Was this the first such trial?  There was one phrase that mentioned it’s already approved for chronic constipation so we know it’s on the market but are doctors using it off-label for this use? The stage of this research just isn’t clear from the story.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

no claims of novelty were made but neither was any context given about other research to improve colon prep.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Satisfactory

All information and quotes appear to come directly from a news release. 

Total Score: 0 of 8 Satisfactory


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