Do prokinetics influence the completion rate in small-bowel capsule endoscopy? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Anastasios Koulaouzidis*, Andry Giannakou, Diana E. Yung, Konstantinos J. Dabos, John N. Plevris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review



The use of purging for bowel cleansing prior to small-bowel capsule endoscopy (SBCE) has now been established in clinical practice. Despite that, the number of incomplete SBCEs is still around 15-20%. To date, the use of prokinetics in SBCE -aiming to improve completion rate (CR) - remains a contentious issue resulting in lack of consensus among capsule experts.


Extensive medical literature searches were conducted (to November 2012), using suitable MeSH terms and keywords, in search of studies that compared capsule ingestion with prokinetic agents vs. controls or placebo. We examined the effects of prokinetic administration on SBCE CR (primary end point), as well as on the following secondary end points: diagnostic yield (DY), gastric transit time (GTT) and small-bowel transit time (SBTT) by meta-analysis of all relevant studies.


A total of 17 eligible studies (14 prospective, 3 retrospective) were identified, including 1028 individuals who ingested the capsule with no prokinetic vs. 876 who received a prokinetic. Overall, there was a higher CR in patients who ingested the capsule with prokinetics vs. controls (OR [95% CI]: 1.96 [1.38-2.78]). Of the two most readily available prokinetics, metoclopramide was associated with superior SBCE CR vs. control (OR [95% CI]: 2.8 [1.35-3.21]), while erythromycin showed no benefit (OR [95% CI]: 1.36 [0.61-3.03]). Where prokinetics were used alone, neither metoclopramide nor erythromycin showed any benefit on CR. There was no benefit of prokinetics (over controls) on DY. However, metoclopramide had a significant effect on GTT and SBTT.


The majority of the included studies were heterogeneous, and the effect of prokinetics on image quality and mucosal visualization was not examined.


Our pooled data shows that the use of prokinetics for capsule ingestion improves CR in SBCE. This effect appears to be particularly evident with metoclopramide, when used concurrently with purging and/or use of real-time monitoring. In a small number of studies, erythromycin showed - through its gastrokinetic effect - marginal benefit. No prokinetic has a beneficial effect on SBCE DY.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1185
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent medical research and opinion
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Completion rate
  • Daikenchuto
  • Erythromycin
  • Lubiprostone
  • Metoclopramide
  • Mosapride
  • Motility
  • Prokinetics
  • Real-time viewer


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