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Somatostatin plus isosorbide 5-mononitrate versus somatostatin in the control of acute gastro-oesophageal variceal bleeding: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial
  1. F Junqueraa,
  2. J C López-Talaverab,
  3. F Mearina,
  4. E Saperasa,
  5. S Videlaa,
  6. J-R Armengola,
  7. R Estebanb,
  8. J-R Malageladaa
  1. aDigestive System Research Unit, Hospital General Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, bLiver Unit
  1. Dr F Mearin, Digestive System Research Unit, Hospital General Vall d'Hebron, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Pº Valle de Hebrón 119-129, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.


BACKGROUND Variceal bleeding is a severe complication of portal hypertension. Somatostatin reduces portal pressure by decreasing splanchnic blood flow, and nitrates by diminishing intrahepatic resistance. Experimental studies have shown that the combination of somatostatin and nitrates has an additive effect in decreasing portal pressure.

AIM To compare the therapeutic efficacy of either intravenous infusion of somatostatin plus oral isosorbide 5-mononitrate or somatostatin alone in gastro-oesophageal variceal bleeding associated with liver cirrhosis.

METHODS A unicentre, double blind, placebo controlled, clinical trial was conducted. Sixty patients bleeding from oesophageal or gastric varices were randomised to receive intravenous infusion of somatostatin (250 μg/hour) plus oral isosorbide 5-mononitrate (40 mg/12 hours) (group I) or somatostatin infusion plus placebo (group II) for 72 hours.

RESULTS The two groups of patients had similar clinical, endoscopic, and haematological characteristics. Control of bleeding was achieved in 18 out of 30 patients (60%) in group I and 26 out of 30 patients (87%) in group II (p<0.05). There was no significant difference in mean transfusion requirements between the two groups: 2.6 (2.2)v 1.8 (1.6) respectively; means (SD). Mortality and side effects were similar in the two groups, but development of ascites was higher in group I (30%) than in group II (7%) (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION In cirrhotic patients with acute gastro-oesophageal variceal bleeding, addition of isosorbide 5-mononitrate to somatostatin does not improve therapeutic efficacy, induces more adverse effects, and should not be used.

  • gastro-oesophageal bleeding
  • haemorrhage
  • portal hypertension
  • clinical trial
  • isosorbide 5-mononitrate
  • somatostatin

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  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    isosorbide 5-mononitrate