Last week, four Virginia residents filed lawsuits against C.B. Fleet Co. claiming that the manufacturer promoted its over-the-counter laxative, Fleet Phospho-soda, at double doses for use during colonoscopy prep. According to the lawsuits, this resulted in potentially life-threatening kidney failure in the plaintiffs.
The lawsuits allege that C.B. Fleet Co. promoted the higher doses despite knowledge that it could cause a form of kidney failure known as acute phosphate nephropathy. This condition can require the need for dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant. According to the Roanoke Times, none of the plaintiffs had a history of kidney problems before taking the double dose of Fleet Phospho-soda, and all have developed kidney failure since. One plaintiff has required dialysis treatment and another will probably require a kidney transplant.
Fleet Phospho-soda was available without a prescription for use as a laxative until it was recalled in December 2008. The Food and Drug Administration never approved the product for use in bowel prep before a colonoscopy.