Cirrhosis: Vasoconstrictor Medicines for Variceal Bleeding - Adventist HealthCare

Cirrhosis: Vasoconstrictor Medicines for Variceal Bleeding

Topic Overview

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).
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Too much sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia).
  • Diarrhea.
  • Formation of gallstones (with long-term use).

References

Citations

  1. Garcia-Tsao G, et al. (2007). Prevention and management of gastroesophageal varices and variceal hemorrhage in cirrhosis. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 102(9): 2086–2102.

Credits

Current as ofMarch 27, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
W. Thomas London, MD - Internal Medicine, Hepatology

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.