Cirrhosis: Vasoconstrictor Medicines for Variceal Bleeding
Medicines that constrict small blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the portal vein are used to treat sudden (acute) bleeding from enlarged veins (varices) in the digestive tract (variceal bleeding).
Octreotide is the main medicine used in the United States to treat variceal bleeding.
These medicines also may be used along with endoscopic treatment. Adding medicine to endoscopic treatment works better to control bleeding than endoscopic treatment alone.footnote 1
Side effects of these medicines may include:
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
- Too much sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia).
- Formation of gallstones (with long-term use).
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Internal Medicine, Hepatology
Current as ofMarch 28, 2018
Current as of: March 28, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff