Article Text

Administration of hyoscine- n-butylbromide during colonoscopy: a survey of current UK practice
  1. Matthew Robert Bedford1,
  2. Tristan Reuser2,
  3. Paul Wilson1,
  4. Sharad Karandikar1,
  5. Douglas Bowley1
  1. 1Department of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands, UK
  1. Correspondence to Matthew Robert Bedford, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Department of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Birmingham B9 5SS, UK; matthewbedford{at}


Objective Current British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) guidelines suggest that hyoscine-n-butylbromide (Buscopan) should be avoided during colonoscopy in patients with a history of angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma, however, is not very common, is asymptomatic before onset and is treated definitively by a single laser treatment (if spotted early). Open-angle glaucoma is not affected by hyoscine. The aim of this study was to assess the use of hyoscine among colonoscopists, with particular reference to glaucoma.

Design and setting Following BSG endoscopy subcommittee approval, a short questionnaire was electronically administered to members of the BSG and the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland.

Main outcome measures Hyoscine use among colonoscopists, and effect of glaucoma history upon prescribing practice.

Results 188 colonoscopists responded to some or all of the questions. 123/183 (67.2%) of respondents claimed they were aware of the BSG guidelines. 160/187 (85.6%) sometimes or always use hyoscine, while 27/187 (14.4%) never do. 137/177 (77.4%) always enquire about glaucoma history prior to administration, although 147/176 (83.0%) make no differentiation between open-angle or angle-closure forms. 126/178 (70.8%) would (incorrectly) withhold hyoscine if the patient declares a history of any form of glaucoma. 140/179 (78.2%) do not substitute glucagon as an antispasmodic. 4/180 (2.2%) had encountered ophthalmic complications post-administration.

Conclusions Current BSG guidelines pertaining to hyoscine use and glaucoma are inappropriate; the authors recommend revision. Patients undergoing colonoscopy who have received hyoscine should, instead, be advised to seek urgent medical advice if they develop ophthalmic symptoms.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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