Results of a Community-based, Randomized Study Comparing a Clear Liquid Diet With a Low-residue Diet Using a Magnesium Citrate Preparation for Screening and Surveillance Colonoscopies

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Current bowel preparations for colonoscopy include a clear liquid diet (CLD) along with consumption of a laxative. This dietary restriction along with large volume bowel preparations are barriers to compliance and willingness among patients in scheduling screening examinations. The aim of our study was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of a low-volume split dose magnesium citrate bowel preparation in patients on a low-residue diet (LRD) with those on a CLD.


In this single center, single blinded, randomized controlled trial, patients scheduled for outpatient colonoscopies were assigned to either a CLD or a LRD 1 day before the examination. Both groups received a split dose magnesium citrate preparation. The quality of the preparation was rated using the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale (BBPS). Patient satisfaction and side effects were evaluated using a questionnaire.


We were unable to detect a significant difference in the BBPS scores between the LRD and CLD groups (P=0.581). A significantly higher percentage of patients in the LRD group rated the diet as easy compared with the CLD group (P<0.001). Satisfaction scores were significantly higher in the LRD group, compared with the CLD group (P<0.001). The side effect profiles of both arms were similar.


There was no significant difference between LRD and CLD in patients using a magnesium citrate bowel preparation for screening and surveillance colonoscopies. Patient satisfaction scores were higher with a LRD compared with a CLD. We believe the LRD should be the recommended diet in patients using a standard bowel preparation for screening and surveillance colonoscopy.

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