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Comparative pilot study of repeated large volume paracentesis vs the combination on clonidine-spironolactone in the treatment of cirrhosis-associated refractory ascites.

Author(s): Lenaerts A, Codden T, Henry JP, Legros F, Ligny G

Affiliation(s): University Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology, CHU de Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium. anne.lenaerts@chu-charleroi.be

Publication date & source: 2005-11, Gastroenterol Clin Biol., 29(11):1137-42.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVES: To study the usefulness of the combination of clonidine--spironolactone in refractory ascites. METHODS: Twenty cirrhotic patients with refractory ascites were randomly assigned to receive repeated large volume paracentesis plus intravenous albumin (group 1), or a combination of clonidine (0.075 mg twice daily) and spironolactone (200 to 400 mg daily) (group 2). RESULTS: During the first hospitalisation,, the mean weight loss in group 1 was higher than in group 2 (12.4 +/- 3.2 versus 4.3 +/- 1.1 kg, P < or = 0.01). Mean stay in hospital was shorter in group 2 (20 +/- 1.5 versus 10 +/- 2.8 days; P < or = 0.01). Paracentesis did not induce changes in neuro-hormonal measurements. Oppositely, clonidine induced a decreased sympathetic activity, an increased glomerular filtration rate and a delayed reduction of the renin-aldosterone levels. During the follow-up in group 1, the number of rehospitalisations for ascites was higher than in group 2 (37 versus 3; P < or = 0.01), and the mean time to the first readmission was shorter (10 +/- 2.7 versus 23.7 +/- 5.6 days; P < or = 0.01). The total duration spent in hospital were similar in both groups. CONCLUSION: Paracentesis is more effective for short-term treatment of ascites but clonidine-spironolactone association might provide better long-term control.

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