The Colonoscopy Procedure

Understanding the exam

A colonoscopy is usually a routine exam that is used to diagnose some gastrointestinal (GI) issues and to detect colon cancer or its precursors. The colonoscopy procedure is performed by a physician with specialized training, usually a gastroenterologist.

The doctor uses a colonoscope (a long, flexible tube with a light and a tiny camera attached) to explore the entire length of the large intestine, which includes the colon and the rectum. The colonoscope is also equipped with a device that allows your doctor to remove polyps during a colonoscopy—a major step toward the prevention of colon cancer.

Path of the colonoscope during a colonoscopy

The colonoscope travels the length of the colon to help your doctor find abnormal polyps and lesions that could become cancerous.

What to expect

Before your colonoscopy, you will be given a prescription for a colonoscopy prep, which will flush solid waste from your large intestine so your doctor can see the walls of the colon and rectum clearly. The colonoscopy itself is virtually painless, as most patients are sedated during the procedure. In fact, many people report waking up from a colonoscopy with no memory of the exam at all.

If your doctor finds polyps during the procedure, he or she can remove the majority of them using the tools inside the colonoscope. If a polyp is too big to be safely removed using these tools, the doctor can take a biopsy (the removal of a small piece of tissue) for further testing.

Talking to your physician

Don't be embarrassed to talk to your physician about the colonoscopy process—millions of people have been through it before. Your doctor is there for you, so take the time you need to be comfortable with your options and confident in your choices.

Discuss all of your colonoscopy prep options with your doctor, who will help you choose the one that is best for you. Remember how important a complete bowel prep is for clear exam results.

Indication for MOVIPREP

MOVIPREP® (PEG-3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution) is an osmotic laxative indicated for cleansing of the colon as a preparation for colonoscopy in adults 18 years of age or older.

Important Safety Information about MOVIPREP

  • Do not take MOVIPREP® (PEG-3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution) if you have a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction (a blockage in your bowel), bowel perforation (an opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine), gastric retention (problems with food and fluid emptying from your stomach), ileus (bowel muscle unable to move stomach contents), toxic colitis (damage to the thickness of the intestinal wall) or toxic megacolon (an extremely dilated or distended colon with fever and/or abdominal pain at times), or if you have a known allergy to MOVIPREP or any of its components.
  • It is important to drink sufficient liquids before, during, and after the use of MOVIPREP. Liquid and blood salt changes can lead to serious side effects including abnormal heartbeats, seizures, and kidney problems. Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you take any medications that increase the risk of blood salt abnormalities or if you have known or suspected low blood salt (sodium) level (hyponatremia).
  • If you have kidney problems or if you take medication that affects kidney function, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • If you have suspected bowel blockage or a suspected opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you have problems swallowing, if you have gastric reflux, or if you are predisposed to aspiration.
  • If you have a condition that destroys red blood cells called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • Please be advised that MOVIPREP contains 131 mg of phenylalanine per treatment.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • In clinical studies with MOVIPREP, the most common side effects for split dosing were malaise (feeling uneasy), nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, vomiting, and upper stomach pain. The most common side effects for evening only dosing were stomach swelling (abdominal distension), anal discomfort, thirst, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, sleep disorder, rigors (body shakes), hunger, malaise (feeling uneasy), vomiting, and dizziness.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For product information, adverse event reports, and product complaint reports, please contact:

Salix Product Information Call Center
Phone: 1-800-508-0024
Fax: 1-510-595-8183

Please click here for complete Prescribing Information for MOVIPREP.