Key instructions

  • Your bowel must be empty so that your doctor can clearly view your colon. Follow all of the instructions in this handout EXACTLY as they are written.
  • DO NOT eat any solid food the ENTIRE day before your colonoscopy. Drink only clear liquids.
  • Buy your bowel preparation at least five days before your colonoscopy.

Transportation on the day of your exam

A responsible person MUST BE PRESENT with you at Check In before your colonoscopy and MUST REMAIN in the endoscopy area until you are discharged. You are not allowed to drive, take a taxi or bus, or leave the Endoscopy Center alone. If you do not have a responsible driver (family member or friend) with you to take you home, your exam cannot be done with sedation and will be cancelled.

Please bring a list of all of your current medications, including any over-the-counter medications, with you.


If you take insulin, medications for diabetes or blood thinners, you must call the doctor who orders those medications for instructions on altering the dosage before your colonoscopy. Blood thinners include Coumadin® (warfarin); Plavix®(clopidogrel); Ticlid® (ticlopidine hydrochloride); Agrylin® (anagrelide); Xarelto® (Rivaroxaban); Pradaxa® (Dabigatran); Eliquis® (Apixaban); and Effient® (Prasugrel).

All other medications, including aspirin, should be taken the day of the exam with a sip of water.

Five (5) days before your colonoscopy

  • Do NOT take medicines that stop diarrhea, such as loperamide (Imodium®) or bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate®, Pepto-Bismol®).
  • Do NOT take fiber supplements, such as Metamucil®, Citrucel®, or Perdiem®.
  • Do NOT take products that contain iron, such as multivitamins (the label lists what is in the products).
  • Do NOT take Vitamin E.

Buy the prescription bowel preparation solution at your local pharmacy or drugstore pharmacy five days before your colonoscopy.

Three days before your colonoscopy

  • Do NOT eat high-fiber foods, such as popcorn, beans, seeds (flax, sunflower, quinoa), multigrain bread, nuts, salad/vegetables, or fresh and dried fruit.

One day before your colonoscopy

  • Only drink clear liquids the ENTIRE DAY before your colonoscopy. Do NOT eat any solid foods. Drink at least 8 ounces of clear liquids every hour after waking up. The chart shows what you can and cannot drink.

Clear Liquids
(No Red Liquids)
Gatorade®, Pedialyte® or Powerade®Alcohol
Clear broth or bouillonMilk or non-dairy creamer
Coffee or tea (no milk or non-dairy creamer)Noodles or vegetables in soup
Carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinksJuice with pulp
Kool-Aid® or other fruit-flavored drinksLiquid you cannot see through
Strained fruit juices (no pulp)
Jell-O®, Popsicles®, hard candy

The bowel preparation solution will be consumed in two parts.

Mix the solution the evening before your colonoscopy and refrigerate before drinking. You may add the flavor pack that came with the bowel preparation. Do NOT add ice, sugar or any other flavorings to the solution.

Part 1

At 6:00 pm the evening before your colonoscopy:

  • Drink an 8-ounce glass of bowel preparation every 10 minutes for a total of 8 glasses.
  • You may continue to drink clear liquids until midnight.

Part 2

Four and a half hours before your colonoscopy on the day of your procedure:

  • Drink an 8-ounce glass of bowel preparation every 10 minutes for a total of 8 glasses.
  • Fifteen minutes later, drink an 8-ounce glass of clear liquids every 15 minutes for a total of 2 glasses.
  • You may continue to drink clear liquids up to three hours before your exam.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/01/2020.

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