A randomized controlled study of propranolol for prevention of recurrent gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with cirrhosis: a final report

Hepatology. May-Jun 1984;4(3):355-8. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840040301.


We have previously reported the results of a controlled trial showing that continuous oral administration of propranolol reduced the risk of recurrent gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with cirrhosis; only part of our patients had been followed for 1 year. This controlled trial was continued for an additional year; accordingly, all of our patients have now been followed for at least 2 years. The purpose of the present study is to determine whether prolonged administration enhances the efficacy of this therapy. Seventy-four patients with cirrhosis, admitted for an episode of gastrointestinal bleeding, were included in this study; ascites, jaundice and encephalopathy were absent or mild and transient. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups; one group of 38 patients received propranolol twice daily at doses that reduced the resting heart rate by 25%, the other group of 36 patients received a placebo twice daily. The cumulative percentages of patients free of recurrent gastrointestinal bleeding 1 and 2 years after inclusion were 87 and 79% in the propranolol group, and 42 and 32% in the placebo group; both differences were highly significant (p less than 0.0001). Furthermore, the cumulative percentages of surviving patients 1 and 2 years after inclusion were 94 and 90% in the propranolol group, and 84 and 57% in the placebo group; the difference between the two groups was not significant at 1 year, but was statistically significant at 2 years (p less than 0.02).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Recurrence


  • Propranolol
  • Creatinine