Sodium picosulfate

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Sodium picosulfate
Sodium picosulfate.svg
Ball-and-stick model of the component ions of sodium picosulfate
Clinical data
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ATC code
CAS Number
PubChem CID
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ECHA InfoCard100.030.097 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass481.409 g/mol g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
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Sodium picosulfate (INN, also known as sodium picosulphate) is a contact stimulant laxative used as a treatment for constipation or to prepare the large bowel before colonoscopy or surgery. It is sold under the trade names Sodipic Picofast, Laxoberal, Laxoberon,[1] Purg-Odan, Picolax, Guttalax, Namilax, Pico-Salax,[2] PicoPrep,[3] and Prepopik,[4] among others.


Orally administered sodium picosulfate is generally used for thorough evacuation of the bowel, usually for patients who are preparing to undergo a colonoscopy. It takes 12–24 hours to work, since it works in the colon.[4]

Abdominal cramps and diarrhea are normal effects of picosulfate and should be expected.

The use of sodium picosulfate has also been associated with certain electrolyte disturbances, such as hyponatremia and hypokalemia.[5] Patients are often required to drink large amounts of clear fluids, to compensate for dehydration and to reestablish normal electrolyte balance.

Mechanism of action[edit]

Sodium picosulfate is a prodrug.[6] It has no significant direct physiological effect on the intestine; however, it is metabolised by gut bacteria into the active compound 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl-(2-pyridiyl)methane (DPM, BPHM).[6][7] This compound is a stimulant laxative and increases peristalsis in the gut.[6][8]

Sodium picosulfate is typically prescribed in a combined formulation with magnesium citrate, an osmotic laxative. This combination is a highly effective laxative, often prescribed to patients for bowel cleansing prior to colonoscopies.[6][9]


  1. ^ Website of Merck Pakistan
  2. ^ PICO SALAX Product Information Archived 2012-03-22 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Tjandra, Joe J.; Chan, Miranda; Tagkalidis, Peter P. (2006). "Oral sodium phosphate (Fleet(R)) is a superior colonoscopy preparation to Picoprep(R) (sodium picosulfate-based preparation)". Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. 49 (5): 616–620. doi:10.1007/s10350-005-0323-2. PMID 16525746.
  4. ^ a b "FDA News Release – FDA approves new colon-cleansing drug for colonoscopy prep". Food and Drug Administration. July 17, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  5. ^ ADRAC (February 2002). "Electrolyte disturbances with sodium picosulfate bowel cleansing products". Aust Adv Drug React Bull. 21 (1). Free full text from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration
  6. ^ a b c d Adamcewicz, Margaret; Bearelly, Dilip; Porat, Gail; Friedenberg, Frank K. (2011-01-01). "Mechanism of action and toxicities of purgatives used for colonoscopy preparation". Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology. 7 (1): 89–101. doi:10.1517/17425255.2011.542411. ISSN 1742-5255. PMC 3030244. PMID 21162694.
  7. ^ Forth, W.; Nell, G.; Rummel, W.; Andres, H. (1972-03-01). "The hydragogue and laxative effect of the sulfuric acid ester and the free diphenol of 4,4′-dihydroxydiphenyl-(pyridyl-2)-methane". Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology. 274 (1): 46–53. doi:10.1007/BF00501005. ISSN 0028-1298.
  8. ^ Jauch, R; Hankwitz, R; Beschke, K; Pelzer, H (November 1975). "Bis-(p-hydroxyphenyl)-pyridyl-2-methane: The common laxative principle of Bisacodyl and sodium picosulfate". Arzneimittel-Forschung. 25 (11): 1796–1800. PMID 1243088.
  9. ^ Regev, Arie; Fraser, Gerald; Delpre, George; Leiser, Alfredo; Neeman, Ami; Maoz, Eran; Anikin, Victor; Niv, Yaron (1998). "Comparison of two bowel preparations for colonoscopy: sodium picosulphate with magnesium citrate versus sulphate-free polyethylene glycol lavage solution". The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 93 (9): 1478–1482. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.1998.00467.x. PMID 9732929.