Background & aims: Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) type 1 is a progressive functional renal failure in subjects with advanced liver disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of terlipressin, a systemic arterial vasoconstrictor, for cirrhosis type 1 HRS.
Methods: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of terlipressin was performed. Subjects with type 1 HRS were randomized to terlipressin (1 mg intravenously every 6 hours) or placebo plus albumin in both groups. The dose was doubled on day 4 if the serum creatinine (SCr) level did not decrease by 30% of baseline. Treatment was continued to day 14 unless treatment success, death, dialysis, or transplantation occurred. Treatment success was defined by a decrease in SCr level to </=1.5 mg/dL for at least 48 hours by day 14 without dialysis, death, or relapse of HRS type 1.
Results: Fifty-six subjects were randomized to each arm. Treatment success with terlipressin was double that with placebo (25% vs 12.5%, P = .093). SCr level improved from baseline to day 14 on terlipressin (-0.7 mg/dL) as compared with placebo (0 mg/dL), P < .009. Terlipressin was superior to placebo for HRS reversal (34% vs 13%, P = .008), defined by decrease in SCr level </=1.5 mg/dL. Overall and transplantation-free survival was similar between study groups; HRS reversal significantly improved survival at day 180. One nonfatal myocardial infarction occurred with terlipressin, but the total adverse event rate was similar to placebo.
Conclusions: Terlipressin is an effective treatment to improve renal function in HRS type 1.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00089570.