Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: Octreotide, Vasopressin, Variceal Bleeding (PubMed Search)
With a national shortage of octreotide an alternative treatment plan had to be implemented at our institution for patients presenting with variceal bleeding.
Drug references recommend a continuous infusion of vasopressin at 0.2 to 0.4 units/minute. Dose may be titrated as needed to a maximum dose of 0.8 units/minute with maximum duration of 24 hours to reduce incidence of adverse effects. Administer IV nitroglycerin concurrently to prevent ischemic complications and monitor closely for signs/symptoms of myocardial, peripheral, and bowel ischemia.
Protocol at our institution:
Initiate vasopressin at 0.2 units/min.
Increase by 0.2 units/min if bleeding is not controlled after one hour (max dose: 0.8 units/min).
If bleeding controlled for 2 hours, can decrease by 0.2 units/min and reassess.
Limit use to 24 hours.
Use nitroglycerin infusion to prevent adverse effects from vasopressin.
Initiate nitroglycerin at 40 mcg/min, titrate by 40 mcg/min to a max dose of 400 mcg/min.
Goal systolic blood press pressure of 90-100 mmHg. Do not start nitroglycerin if SBP <90 mmHg.
***Please note the vasopressin dose for this indication is significantly higher than the typical dose of 0.03 units/min we use for shock.***
Garcia-Tsao G, Abraldes JG, Berzigotti A, Bosch J. Portal hypertensive bleeding in cirrhosis: risk stratification, diagnosis, and management: 2016 practice guidance by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases [published correction appears in Hepatology. 2017;66(1):304]. Hepatology. 2017;65(1):310-335.
Terés J, Planas R, Panes J, Salmeron JM, Mas A, Bosch J, Llorente C, Viver J, Feu F, Rodés J. Vasopressin/nitroglycerin infusion vs. esophageal tamponade in the treatment of acute variceal bleeding: a randomized controlled trial. Hepatology. 1990 Jun;11(6):964-8.
Vasopressin. Lexicomp. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. Available at: https://www.uptodate.com. Accessed on December 31, 2020.