Are synthetic vasoconstrictors effective for the treatment of hepatorenal syndrome (HRS)?

Updated: Oct 16, 2017
  • Author: Deepika Devuni, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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These medications have shown promise for the treatment of HRS; they include vasopressin analogues (ornipressin, terlipressin), somatostatin analogues (octreotide), and alpha-adrenergic agonists (midodrine). [30]

In 1956, Hecker and Sherlock used norepinephrine to treat patients with cirrhosis who had HRS; they were the first to describe an improvement in arterial pressure and urine output. However, no improvement was observed in the biochemical parameters of renal function, and all patients subsequently died.

Octapressin, a synthetic vasopressin analogue, was first used in 1970 to treat type 1 HRS. RPF and the GFR improved in all patients, all of whom subsequently died from sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver failure. Because of these discouraging results, the use of alternate vasopressin analogues, particularly ornipressin, attracted attention. Three important studies by Lenz and colleagues demonstrated that short-term use of ornipressin resulted in an improvement in the circulatory function and a significant increase in RPF and the GFR. [31, 32, 33]

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