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Br J Nurs. 2006 Apr 13-26;15(7):378-81.

Evaluating the evidence for administering phosphate enemas.

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Shelford Health Centre, South Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust.


This article analyses the existing evidence surrounding the use of phosphate enemas in practice. Phosphate enemas are routinely used in a variety of clinical areas to relieve constipation or as a diagnostic bowel preparation. Yet, there is increasing uncertainty about both the medication's clinical effectiveness and its safety. There is limited evidence to suggest the product is more effective than other medications in the management of chronic constipation. However, phosphate enemas are an effective preparation for some diagnostic bowel investigations. There are also a variety of infrequently seen, but detrimental, complications specifically associated with the administration of phosphate enemas. The administration of phosphate enemas should be avoided if clients have certain underlying conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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