Published online Jul 14, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i26.4228
Revised: May 22, 2013
Accepted: June 5, 2013
Published online: July 14, 2013
AIM: To compare the effects of propranolol (PR) to that of PR plus isosorbide-5-mononitrate (ISMN) on variceal pressure in patients with schistosomiasis.
METHODS: Forty-eight patients with schistosomiasis who had no previous variceal bleeding were treated with PR alone or PR plus ISMN. Seven patients refused variceal pressure manometry (3 receiving PR and 4 receiving PR plus ISMN). One patient withdrew from the trial due to headache after taking ISMN. At the time of termination, twenty patients were randomly assigned to treatment with PR plus ISMN or PR alone. The dose of PR was adjusted until the resting heart rate had been reduced by 25% or was less than 55 bpm. In the PR plus ISMN group, after PR was titrated to the same target, the dose of ISMN was increased up to 20 mg orally twice a day. Variceal pressure was measured using a noninvasive endoscopic balloon technique at the end of the 6-mo treatment period.
RESULTS: In 40 patients (20 in the PR group and 20 in the PR plus ISMN group), variceal pressure was measured before treatment and at the end of the 6-mo treatment period. PR or PR plus ISMN treatment caused a significant reduction in variceal pressure (PR group: from 24.15 ± 6.05 mmHg to 22.68 ± 5.70 mmHg, P = 0.001; PR plus ISMN group: from 25.69 ± 5.26 mmHg to 20.48 ± 5.43 mmHg; P < 0.001). The percentage decrease in variceal pressure was significant after PR plus ISMN compared with that after PR alone (15.93% ± 8.37% vs 6.05% ± 3.67%, P = 0.01). One patient in the PR plus ISMN group and two patients in the PR group had variceal bleeding during follow-up. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding the incidence of variceal bleeding. In the PR plus ISMN group, three patients had headache and hypotension. The headache was mild and transient and promptly disappeared after continuation of the relevant drug in two patients. Only one patient withdrew from the trial due to severe and lasting headache after taking ISMN. No side effects occurred in the PR group.
CONCLUSION: PR plus ISMN therapy may be an alternative treatment for patients with schistosomiasis who have a high risk of bleeding.
Core tip: The results of the present study suggested that the combination of propranolol and isosorbide-5-mononitrate was more effective than propranolol alone in decreasing variceal pressure. This drug combination will reduce the rate of bleeding in patients with schistosomiasis, high-risk esophageal varices and no previous history of variceal bleeding.