Comparative Effectiveness of Split-Dose Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation Regimens

  • End date
    Sep 30, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    VA Office of Research and Development
Updated on 13 October 2022
bowel preparation


From the patients' perspective, the most formidable part of the colonoscopy experience is the process of bowel cleansing. A poorly tolerated bowel preparation regimen often leads to incompletion of scheduled colonoscopies which in turn undermines the effectiveness of colonoscopy, increases cost, and decreases patient satisfaction. The current standard bowel preparation in the VA is of larger volume and less palatable than another commonly used bowel preparation regimen. The investigators propose to compare these two commonly used bowel preparations with respect to the overall completion rate of scheduled colonoscopies in a real-world VA practice setting. The results of the study can be immediately applied to maximize the effectiveness of colonoscopy and increase patient satisfaction in the VA.


Anticipated Impacts on Veterans Health Care: by identifying a colonoscopy bowel preparation regimen which is the most effective in real-world VA practice and can be immediately implemented on a VA-wide scale, the proposed study will maximize the effectiveness of colonoscopy in reducing colorectal cancer (CRC) risk among Veterans, increase Veteran satisfaction, and reduce VA healthcare cost. Background: CRC is a leading cause of cancer-related death among Veterans. Colonoscopy can effectively reduce CRC incidence and mortality. However, non-adherence to screening colonoscopy substantially undermines this benefit. Existing evidence indicates that a disagreeable bowel preparation is a leading barrier to completing a colonoscopy from the patients' perspective. The taste and the volume of the bowel preparation determine patient tolerability and compliance to the preparation instructions, which in turn affects the incompletion (e.g., cancellation/no-show/reschedule) rate of scheduled colonoscopies as well as the effectiveness of the completed colonoscopies and patient satisfaction. The two most commonly used preparations currently in the US are the split-dose 4L polyethylene glycol (PEG) and the split-dose 2L MiraLAX/Gatorade preparations. While a high-volume regimen may in theory be more effective than a lower volume one, it may be associated with lower tolerability and adherence in real-world practice. Three small trials have compared these two preparations. However, data from these explanatory trials cannot inform policy decisions because they were conducted under artificial conditions, restricted among narrow patient populations, and most importantly not designed to capture the full impact of bowel preparation on the completion rate or effectiveness of colonoscopy. To address this critical knowledge gap, the investigators are proposing a pragmatic trial to determine the optimal split-dose bowel preparation in the general Veteran population. Objectives: to compare the real-world effectiveness of the two most commonly used split-dose colonoscopy bowel preparation regimens in the US (i.e., 4L PEG and 2L MiraLAX/Gatorade) with respect to the completion rate of scheduled colonoscopies, adenoma detection rate and secondarily preparation quality, cancellation/no-show rate and patient-oriented outcomes (e.g., willingness to repeat the preparation).

Condition Colorectal Cancer
Treatment Miralax-Gatorade Prep, Golytely
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03298945
SponsorVA Office of Research and Development
Last Modified on13 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

> 18 years of age, and
being scheduled for outpatient elective screening, surveillance or diagnostic colonoscopies, and
the provider ordering the colonoscopy giving permission to enroll the patient

Exclusion Criteria

Patients who are <18 years
undergoing inpatient colonoscopy
those with contra-indications to receiving the standard 4L PEG-ELS colonoscopy bowel preparation (e.g., allergy to PEG) will be excluded
The investigators are excluding inpatient colonoscopies because they account for a very small fraction of the total colonoscopies performed
Also, inpatient colonoscopies are often performed for urgent reasons such that rapid bowel preparation procedures are followed
In addition, because the objective of inpatient colonoscopy is often not to look for
In addition, for patients undergoing more than 1 colonoscopy during the study period, only their first colonoscopy will be included in the primary analysis
small polyps, the threshold for "adequate" bowel preparation quality might be
Patients who are undergoing a repeat colonoscopy for to a recent inadequate colonoscopy examination with poor bowel preparation will be excluded
different from that for outpatient procedures
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