Early administration of terlipressin plus glyceryl trinitrate to control active upper gastrointestinal bleeding in cirrhotic patients

Lancet. 1995 Sep 30;346(8979):865-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(95)92708-5.


Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a major complication in cirrhotic patients. Endoscopy and oesophageal sclerosis are reference treatments and must be done as soon as possible. However, such treatment is not possible unless the patient is admitted to hospital. In a prospective, randomised, double-blind trial, we compared the efficacy of terlipressin combined with glyceryl trinitrate (TER-GTN), administered as early as possible to 76 patients with cirrhosis who had active GIB (84 bleeding episodes). Infusion was done at the patient's home by the physician on the emergency team (a mobile intensive care unit) if the patient had GIB and a history and clinical signs of cirrhosis. Patients received either an intravenous injection (1 to 2 mg) of TER-GTN or a double-placebo injection, and then another injection at 4 and 8 h. Control of bleeding, rebleeding, and mortality rate at days 15 and 42 were evaluated. In most patients, endoscopy confirmed the rupture of oesophageal varices (75.7%). Bleeding control was significantly better in the TER-GTN group (n = 41) than in the double-placebo group (n = 43) (p = 0.034). Mortality due to bleeding episodes was significantly lower in the TER-GTN group than in the double-placebo group at day 15 (p = 0.035) and at day 42 (p = 0.06). There were no serious side-effects. Early administration of TER-GTN lowers the deleterious consequences of prolonged hypovolaemia on the hepatic function of these patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / drug therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / mortality
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Lypressin / administration & dosage
  • Lypressin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitroglycerin / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Terlipressin
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Lypressin
  • Terlipressin
  • Nitroglycerin