The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new drug for cleansing the colon before colonoscopy exams that requires drinking only 10 ounces of the product, not the 2 liters required with some current products such as Go Lightly. The patient must drink other fluids as well, but that can be water, soda or other pleasant-tasting liquids.
The new cleansing agent, called Prepopik, is expected to be marketed by October, according to the manufacturer, Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Parsippany, N.J.
Colorectal cancer is the third-most common type of cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. More than 143,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year and almost 52,000 people will die from it.
Sadly, the majority of those deaths could be prevented by early detection and treatment. Routine colonoscopy is very effective at identifying polyps that are precursors of cancer, but many people are reluctant to undergo the procedure.