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Randomized, double-blind trial comparing topical nitroglycerine with xylocaine and Proctosedyl in idiopathic chronic anal fissure.

Author(s): Maan MS, Mishra R, Thomas S, Hadke NS

Affiliation(s): Department of Surgery, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Marg, New Delhi.

Publication date & source: 2004-05, Indian J Gastroenterol., 23(3):91-3.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To compare symptomatic relief, healing, and changes in maximal anal resting pressure with the use of topical formulations in patients with chronic anal fissure. METHODS: Sixty-four consecutive patients with chronic anal fissure were randomized into 4 groups that received, in a double-blind manner, a topical ointment that contained 0.2% nitroglycerine (GTN), 5% xylocaine, Proctosedyl (hydrocortisone acetate, heparin, framycetin sulfate, esculoside, ethoform, butoform) or petroleum jelly (Vaseline), to be applied twice daily. Patients were reviewed at 2-week intervals for 6 weeks. Anal manometry was done before, and 20 minutes after, the first application of the ointment. RESULTS: There was significant (p < 0.0001) reduction in mean anal resting pressure after application of GTN, but not any other ointment. Of 16 patients receiving GTN, complete pain relief occurred in 6 and 15 patients after 2 and 4 weeks of treatment, respectively; this was more frequent than in the other 3 groups. At 6 weeks also, complete pain relief occurred more often with GTN than with Vaseline or xylocaine. After 4 weeks of treatment, 3 patients on GTN had complete healing of fissure as compared to one each in the xylocaine and Proctosedyl groups and none in the Vaseline group. At 6 weeks, healing of fissure had occurred in 15 of 16 patients receiving GTN as compared to 4 receiving Vaseline, 11 receiving xylocaine, and 12 on Proctosedyl. CONCLUSIONS: Topical nitroglycerine produces 'chemical sphincterotomy' with reduction in mean anal resting pressure. Pain relief and healing of fissure occurred earlier with GTN than with other treatments. GTN should be considered as the treatment of choice for the non-surgical management of patients with chronic anal fissure.

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