[Pharmacotherapy of portal hypertension].Vnitr Lek. 1995 Mar; 41(3):185-8.VL
The task of pharmacotherapy in acute haemorrhage from oesophageal varices in patients with cirrhosis of the liver and portal hypertension is to arrest bleeding by reducing the blood pressure and blood flow in the oesophageal varices. The mechanism of action of the majority of drugs used is vasoconstriction of the arterioles in the splanchnic region. Somatostatin seems to be more effective and in particular safer than vasopressin, terlipressin or their combination with the vasodilatator nitroglycerin. Initial pharmacotherapy for rapid control of haemorrhage is simple and effective treatment, however, it cannot be considered an alternative of sclerotherapy, which remains the method of choice in acute haemorrhage from oesophageal varices and is effective in 90-95%. Pharmacotherapy is useful also in the prevention of relapsing haemorrhage from oesophageal varices. A combination of sclerotherapy with somatostatin or nitrates to reduce early relapses of haemorrhage is particularly effective. The effectiveness of beta-blockers to reduce the risk of relapsing haemorrhage is less clear. Prophylactic treatment for the prevention of the first haemorrhage from oesophageal varices (pharmacological, but also endoscopic or surgical) is justified only in strictly selected patients with a high risk of haemorrhage.