Published online Sep 28, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.4481
Revised: August 3, 2009
Accepted: August 10, 2009
Published online: September 28, 2009
We systematically reviewed the clinical trials which recruited antioxidants in the therapy of pancreatitis and evaluated whether antioxidants improve the outcome of patients with pancreatitis. Electronic bibliographic databases were searched for any studies which investigated the use of antioxidants in the management of acute pancreatitis (AP) or chronic pancreatitis (CP) and in the prevention of post-endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (post-ERCP) pancreatitis (PEP) up to February 2009. Twenty-two randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trials met our criteria and were included in the review. Except for a cocktail of antioxidants which showed improvement in outcomes in three different clinical trials, the results of the administration of other antioxidants in both AP and CP clinical trials were incongruent and heterogeneous. Furthermore, antioxidant therapy including allopurinol and N-acetylcysteine failed to prevent the onset of PEP in almost all trials. In conclusion, the present data do not support a benefit of antioxidant therapy alone or in combination with conventional therapy in the management of AP, CP or PEP. Further double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials with large sample size need to be conducted.