Nadolol, a nonselective beta-blocker, has been shown to decrease portal pressure in patients with cirrhosis at the same degree as propranolol. No data are available, however, about its effect on rebleeding rate and mortality in patients undergoing prevention of rebleeding from esophageal varices. A prospective randomized clinical trial was performed in patients with cirrhosis who survived a documented episode of variceal hemorrhage. 12 patients received nadolol, 12 placebo. Patients with child's C grade, tense ascites, renal failure, contraindications to beta-blocker, or age greater than 70 were not included. After a follow-up of up to 145 weeks, 9 patients in the nadolol group and 4 in the placebo group survived free from rebleeding (log-rank test: chi 2 = 4.35, p less than 0.05). Survival was not statistically different in the two groups (1 death in the nadolol group, 3 in the placebo group). In conclusion, nadolol appears to represent an effective therapy in the prevention of variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients.