What is the role of sodium phenylbutyrate (Buphenyl) in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (HE)?

Updated: May 18, 2020
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Sodium phenylbutyrate is converted to phenylacetate. Phenylacetate, in turn, reacts with glutamine to form phenylacetylglutamine. This chemical is subsequently excreted in the urine, with the loss of ammonia ions. Sodium phenylbutyrate (Buphenyl), intravenous sodium phenylacetate in combination with sodium benzoate (Ammonul), and glycerol phenylbutyrate (Ravicti) are approved by the FDA for the treatment of hyperammonemia associated with urea cycle disorders. [64] The latter is currently in clinical trials in cirrhotic patients with hepatic encephalopathy. [65]

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