Colonoscopy with SUPREP

A colonoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the colon. The colon is the lower portion of the GI tract and is about 5 feet long. Your doctor will use a small flexible tube to do a visual inspection of the inside of your colon. Your doctor may also perform a biopsy and remove any polyps (small growths) found inside your colon during the procedure. A biopsy means that a small amount of tissue is taken from the lining of your colon. This tissue is studied closely to help determine your diagnosis and the best treatment for you.


Preparing for the Test

Your colon will need to be cleansed thoroughly to complete the test. If this is not done correctly, the test will need to be rescheduled.

The medicines you receive during the colonoscopy will make you sleepy. Ask someone you know and are comfortable with to accompany you to drive you home after the procedure. If you do not have someone with you to drive you home, the procedure will be cancelled. It is a good idea to have someone with you throughout the remainder of the day and night. You will not be able to work, drive, or make any decisions for the rest of the day. You will not be allowed to use public transportation unless you are accompanied by someone you know.

If you use oxygen at home, please bring a portable oxygen unit with you. This includes oxygen use while you sleep and/or are active. You may need to use the oxygen for a while after the procedure.


Please follow these instructions carefully:

  • Inform your doctor of all the medicines you take. You may be given specific instructions about certain medicines.
    • Notify your doctor if you take any blood thinners such as Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox, Pradaxa, Xarelto etc..
    • Stop any iron containing medicines or supplements 7 days before the colonoscopy.
    • Inform your doctor if you take any oral medicines or insulin for diabetes.
  • Purchase a supply of clear liquids for the day before the test. Clear liquids include Gatorade, fruit juices (no citrus), soda, Popsicles without fruit or cream, gelatin without fruit, broth (skim the fat off the top), coffee or tea. Do not drink anything that has red, purple or orange coloring, creamer or dairy.
  • If you have a history of constipation, use Miralax, per package instructions, twice daily for 5 days before starting the prep the day before your procedure. Two days before the procedure, begin a diet of liquids only. Dairy products are allowed on this day. The next day you will begin clear liquids only.
  • The SUPREP Bowel Prep works well if the instructions are carefully followed. To cleanse the colon completely, this preparation will cause you to have many liquid bowel movements. Each person’s response to laxatives varies widely. Plan to remain within easy reach of toilet facilities.
  • A prescription for your prep will be given to you or sent electronically to your pharmacy. Purchase the prep kit a few days before the day of preparation. Read the instructions carefully before you begin.
  • Avoid Metamucil and any foods with skins (tomatoes, apples), seeds, corn or nuts for a few days before your test.


The Day Before the Test

  • You may take all of your medicines, except those you have been advised not to take.
  • Do not eat any solid food the day before or the day of the colonoscopy.
  • Drink as much liquid as you can, even before you start to take the SUPREP solution. Remember, clear liquids only all day. Avoid drinking only water; you will get all your calories from the liquids you drink. Gatorade is the preferred clear liquid and will help prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
  • At 6 p.m. add one 6 oz bottle of SUPREP to 16 oz of cold water. Drink the entire amount, then drink 32 oz of water over the next hour. Continue to drink clear liquids, especially Gatorade, until bedtime. Remember, each person’s response to laxatives varies widely. This prep often works within 30 minutes, but may take as long as 3 hours. Remain close to toilet facilities, as multiple bowel movements should occur.
  • Before midnight, drink at least four extra 8-oz glasses of clear liquids. If severe abdominal discomfort or distention occurs, stop drinking for a short time, or drink each portion at longer intervals until these symptoms disappear. If you develop vomiting during the prep, stop for one hour and then resume drinking the SUPREP solution. If vomiting persists, stop the prep and call our office for instructions. If you need to begin the prep later than described, this means that it will be later in the night before your colon is cleansed.


The Day of the Test

  • Set your alarm to wake up six hours before the colonoscopy with SUPREP is scheduled.
  • Six hours before your scheduled test, drink the second 6 oz bottle of SUPREP added to 16 oz of cold water. Drink 32 oz of water over the next hour. Be sure to complete drinking the solution in plenty of time to allow for the prep to completely work before you leave to keep your appointment.
  • Do not eat or drink anything except as directed. You may have small amounts of clear liquids up to 4 hours before you test. No solid food is allowed.
  • Take only the medicines the doctor has asked you to take. These are generally heart or blood pressure medicines, or seizure medicines. They should be taken 4 hours before the procedure.
  • Bring your inhaled medicine with you.
  • If you have sleep apnea, bring your CPAP mask and machine with you.
  • If you are diabetic, please bring your glucose meter, test strips, and fast acting glucose source (either glucose tablets or gel).
  • Bring extra clothing, just in case you need it.
  • Check in at the check-in desk in the front lobby at the time you have been asked.


During the Test

When you arrive, the nurse will explain the procedure before, during, and after the colonoscopy. If you have any questions, please ask. The nurse will start an IV. The IV will be used to administer the sedation used during the procedure. You will be monitored closely during the procedure. You will be asked to lie on your left side. You may feel some abdominal pressure and cramping during the exam, but most people have no memory of the actual procedure. Once the procedure is completed, you will be taken to a room to recover. You will feel a little sleepy. Your doctor will determine when you are able to go home.


Length of the Test

Please plan to be at National Jewish Health for at least 3 hours. The procedure only takes about 20 minutes, but you will need to recover before you can go home. Remember, you will need someone to drive you home. You will need to plan on resting the rest of the day.

Please call 303.398.1355, option #4 if you have any questions or need to change the time or cancel the appointment.


This information has been approved by Miranda Y. Ku, MD, MPH (May 2013).

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