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BACKGROUND AND STUDY AIMS: Meta-analyses suggest that an intravenous bolus or a high dose continuous infusion of somatostatin reduces the incidence of acute pancreatitis after endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Clinical guidelines, however, do not recommend this prophylaxis. The aim of this randomized, double-blind clinical trial was to evaluate the effect of somatostatin on the incidence of post-ERCP pancreatitis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients undergoing ERCP at a single center were randomized to either intravenous bolus of somatostatin followed by a short (4-hour) continuous infusion, or to a similar placebo regimen. The primary outcome was post-ERCP pancreatitis, defined as abdominal pain with an amylase level at least three times higher than the upper limit of normality 24 hours after the ERCP and requiring admission for at least 2 days. RESULTS: A total of 510 patients were enrolled (255 patients per group) and all completed follow-up. The main indications for ERCP were choledocholithiasis (62 %), and biliary malignant stricture (31 %). Post-ERCP pancreatitis occurred in 19 patients (7.5 %) in the somatostatin group and 17 patients (6.7 %) in the placebo group (relative risk [RR] 1.12, 95 % confidence interval [95 %CI] 0.59 - 2.1; P = 0.73). The number of cases of moderate or severe acute pancreatitis was similar in the somatostatin (2.4 %) and the placebo (3.5 %) groups (RR 0.67, 95 %CI 0.24 - 1.85, P = 0.43). No side effects were observed related to the use of somatostatin. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of an intravenous bolus of somatostatin followed by a short continuous infusion does not reduce the incidence of post-ERCP pancreatitis. Clinical number: NCT01060826.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





851 - 856


Abdominal Pain, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde, Double-Blind Method, Female, Hormones, Humans, Hyperamylasemia, Intention to Treat Analysis, Male, Middle Aged, Pancreatitis, Severity of Illness Index, Somatostatin