Effect of terlipressin (Glypressin) on hepatorenal syndrome in cirrhotic patients: results of a multicentre pilot study

Chantal Halimi, Philippe Bonnard, Brigitte Bernard, Philippe Mathurin, Ali Mofredj, Vincent di Martino, Renato Demontis, Edmond Henry-Biabaud, Patrick Fievet, Pierre Opolon, Thierry Poynard, Jean François Cadranel
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2002, 14 (2): 153-8

OBJECTIVES: Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a severe complication of cirrhosis, leading to death in more than 90% of cases in the absence of liver transplantation. Several treatments have been attempted as a bridge to liver transplantation. Among such treatments, terlipressin has been studied in several reports, two prospective pilot studies and a double-blind, short-term, controlled haemodynamic study. Promising results have been shown with this drug. The purpose of this multicentre retrospective study was to evaluate the effects of terlipressin on renal function and survival of patients with HRS.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eighteen patients recruited in three liver units with type 1 HRS in 16 cases and type 2 HRS in two cases were given 4 mg/day terlipressin (range 1.5-12) for 7 days (range 2-16). Electrolytes, renal function, mean urinary output, natriuresis, liver function tests, and tolerance of the treatment were monitored regularly.

RESULTS: A total of 13/18 (72%) patients responded with a mean decline in serum creatinine ranging from 31 to 75% from day 0 to day 5. Eight of these 13 patients had a normal serum creatinine level at day 5. Liver function tests remained unaffected by terlipressin administration. Three local necrosis complications were noted in patients receiving terlipressin continuously via an infusion pump. Two responder patients survived: one of these underwent orthotopic liver transplantation with a follow-up of 24 months; the other is alive with a follow-up of more than 36 months. Patients who responded to terlipressin had lower baseline serum bilirubin and significantly higher serum sodium concentrations than patients who did not respond.

CONCLUSION: In this pilot study, improvement in renal function was noted in 72% of cases after administration of terlipressin, and was associated with long-term survival in two patients. Parameters associated with response to terlipressin and increased survival should be defined better in a large cohort of cirrhotic patients with HRS.

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