Background: Acute pancreatitis is the most common complication of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), occurring in 1-10% of patients. Several substances have been used, with negative results, in an attempt to prevent this complication.
Methods: We performed a double-blind randomized trial in 372 consecutive patients undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic ERCP to evaluate the role of somatostatin in preventing post-ERCP pancreatitis. The first group received continuous somatostatin infusion for 12 h starting 30 min before ERCP, the second group received a bolus intravenous injection of somatostatin at the time of cannulation of the papilla, and the third group received a placebo.
Results: Two patients in each of the somatostatin groups (1.7%) and 12 patients in the placebo group (9.8%) developed pancreatitis (P<0.05). Serum amylase levels 5 and 24 h after the procedure were lower in both groups that received somatostatin than in the placebo group (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Somatostatin is useful in preventing post-ERCP pancreatitis. Further studies must be designed to investigate the cost-effectiveness of the drug and to determine the ideal administration route and dosage.
Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd