How to prepare for smart pill motility capsule

To prepare for Smart Pill capsule do not eat or drink for 8 hours before your test. The Smart Pill is used to diagnose gastroparesis and slow transit constipation. The study lasts about 3-5 days.

What is a Smart Pill?

A Smart Pill is a capsule that is swallowed to measure the pressure, acidity (PH), and temperature of the gastrointestinal tract as it passes through the body. It is designed to evaluate symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation and abdominal pain.

It measures gastric emptying time (GET), small bowel transit time (SBTT), colon transit time (CTT) and whole gut transit time (WGTT).  A gastric emptying time of 4 hours or more is used to diagnose gastroparesis. A colon transit time of 59 hours or more is used to diagnose slow transit constipation.

Who should not do the Smart Pill

  • Patients with swallowing problems.
  • Those that cannot follow procedure instructions.
  • Patients with known obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Those with pacemakers or implantable cardiac defibrillators.

What are the risks of Smart Pill 

  • Choking and difficulty swallowing.
  • Equipment malfunction.
  • Capsule retention.
  • The capsule does not perform well with electromagnetic interference. Don’t get an MRI test until the capsule has passed.

How long does the Smart Pill lasts

  • The study lasts about 3-5 days.

How do I prepare for the Smart Pill

  • Do not eat or drink for 8 hours before your test.
  • Several medications can interfere with the test. These medications should be stopped before the test.

Stop 1 week prior to test

Proton pump inhibitors. These are Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole).

Stop 72 hours prior to test

Histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RA). These are Tagamet (cimetidine), Zantac (ranitidine), Pepcid (famotidine), Axid (nizatidine).

Anti-nausea medications like ondansetron (zofran), promethazine (phenergan), prochlorperazine (compazine).

Anti-diarrhea medications, laxatives and pro motility drugs. These are loperamide (Imodium), diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil), senna, milk of magnesia, bisacodyl (Dulcolax), polyethylene glycol (Miralax), lubiprostone (Amitiza), linaclotide (Linzess), plecanatide (Trulance), erythromycin, azithromycin (Zithromax), metoclopramide (Reglan), domperidone (Motilium).

Opiate pain medications like oxycodone (Oxycontin), Percocet, hydrocodone, Vicodin, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), morphine (MS Contin), fentanyl.

Stop 24 hours prior to test

Do not eat or drink 8 hours before the test. If you have diabetes mellitus and take insulin, your insulin dose will be adjusted. Do not take short-acting insulin while you’re fasting.

What to expect during the procedure

Day 1

At the doctor’s office, you will eat a SmartPill™ meal bar or a standardized egg sandwich. Afterwards, you will swallow the  SmartPill™ motility capsule. Then, you will wear a recorder that receives data from the capsule.

You will not eat for 6 hours after swallowing the capsule. Thereafter, you can eat your regular diet and take your medications except medications listed above.

If you’re allergic to gluten or have celiac disease, let your doctor know.

Day 1-5

You should wear the recorder at all times throughout the test except when you are sleeping or bathing.  While you sleep, the recorder should be placed on a nightstand next to your bed or under your pillow.

The capsule comes out in the stool within a few days.

Day 3-5

Return the recorder to your doctor’s office. The test data is downloaded to a computer for your doctor to analyze. The result should be available to you after your doctor has reviewed and interpreted the result.


What to expect after the procedure

The capsule comes out in the stool within a few days. Check your stool for the capsule. It is disposable. You should flush it with the stool if you see it. Do not retrieve or save the capsule.

If you do not see the capsule and your doctor cannot confirm exit of the capsule in the recorded data, you may need an abdominal X-ray. This is to verify passage of the capsule. Do not get an MRI test until the capsule has passed.

Your doctor will notify you of the results.

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