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Feb. 3, 2016 - Patients Needed for Colonoscopy Sedation Drug Study

Dr%2BCash%2B01.jpgThe University of South Alabama Digestive Health Center is in need of patients who are scheduled to undergo a colonoscopy and over the age of 18 to participate in a study on a new sedation drug.

Dr. Brooks Cash, professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine and a gastroenterologist with USA Physicians Group, is investigating the effectiveness of a study drug in producing sedation during a colonoscopy. The purpose of the study is to evaluate remimazolam as a replacement for the commonly used amnesia producing medicine called midazolam.

During a colonoscopy, a physician inserts a flexible camera into the large intestine to detect the presence of abnormalities such as inflammation or polyps in the colon. The colonoscope allows the physician to screen for colon cancer, obtain tissue samples and deliver any necessary treatment. Dr. Cash said all average risk people should routinely undergo a colonoscopy beginning at age 50 for colorectal cancer screening.

Since the camera is several feet long, the exam can be uncomfortable to patients. Dr. Cash said sedation increases the accuracy and safety of the procedure, while allowing patients to be more comfortable during the exam.

The standard practice for colonoscopy sedation includes a combination of midazolam and fentanyl. Midazolam produces amnesia while fentanyl helps to promote pain control. “One of the issues with this combination is the length of time that it can take for some patients to become sedated,” Dr. Cash said. “Another issue is the prolonged recovery time that some patients have, which can result in feeling woozy or sedated throughout the remainder of the day.”

The current research study will evaluate the effectiveness of remimazolam, a new version of midazolam. “The advantage that remimazolam has over midazolam is that it is metabolized very quickly by enzymes throughout the body,” Dr. Cash said. “Because of that, it has a very rapid onset and its effects go away very quickly, allowing patients to regain full function and awareness much faster.”

Adults over the age of 18 who are scheduled to undergo a colonoscopy may qualify to participate in the study. Eligible participants cannot be on any chronic narcotic pain medications or benzodiazepines. All participants will receive sedation for the colonoscopy by study drug or by FDA-approved medication. Participants will receive compensation for time and travel.

For more information, call the USA Digestive Health Center at (251) 660-5555.

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