What is the role of V2 receptor antagonists in the treatment of cirrhosis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Vasopressin V2 receptor antagonists are a class of agents with the potential to increase free-water excretion, improve diuresis, and decrease the need for paracentesis. However, no such agent has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for this indication.

Tolvaptan (Samsca, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co; Tokyo, Japan) is an oral V2 receptor antagonist; it received FDA approval in 2009 only for the management of hyponatremia. A black box warning cautions against treatment initiation in outpatients. Furthermore, it may be associated with an increased incidence of GI bleeding in patients with cirrhosis. The author advises against its use for ascites management at this time.

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