Indomethacin may reduce the incidence and severity of acute pancreatitis after ERCP

Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 May;102(5):978-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01165.x. Epub 2007 Mar 13.


Objectives: Acute pancreatitis is the most common complication of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Many medications have been used to prevent this complication. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of rectally administered indomethacin for the prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis.

Methods: During 18 months, all eligible patients who underwent ERCP were enrolled in this study. In a double-blind randomized trial, patients received a suppository containing indomethacin, 100 mg, or an inert placebo immediately before ERCP. Serum amylase levels and clinically pertinent evaluations were measured in all patients after ERCP.

Results: A total of 490 patients entered the trial, of which half received indomethacin. Twenty-two patients developed pancreatitis; seven cases in the indomethacin group and 15 in the placebo group (P=0.06). Pancreatic duct injection (OR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.3-7.4), pancreatic duct cannulation more than once (OR=4.2, 95% CI: 1.7-10.0), and age less than 60 yr (OR=2.7, 95% CI: 1.0-7.1) were shown to be significant risk factors for developing post-ERCP pancreatitis. In patients who underwent pancreatography with or without cholangiography, the risk of pancreatitis was significantly lower in the indomethacin group compared with the control group (P=0.01, RRR=88%, ARR=0.16, NNT=6). Moderate to severe pancreatitis was significantly higher in the placebo group (P= 0.03).

Conclusions: This trial shows that rectal indomethacin given immediately before ERCP can reduce the incidence and severity of post-ERCP pancreatitis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / adverse effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Indomethacin