Can somatostatin prevent post-ERCP pancreatitis? Results of a randomized controlled trial

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Mar;19(3):278-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2003.03297.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / adverse effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Pancreatitis / prevention & control*
  • Somatostatin / administration & dosage*


  • Somatostatin