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J Hepatol. 2003 Aug;39(2):187-92.

Spironolactone alone or in combination with furosemide in the treatment of moderate ascites in nonazotemic cirrhosis. A randomized comparative study of efficacy and safety.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Universitari Germans Tri;as i Pujol, Carretera del Canyet, s/n, 08916, Badalona, Spain.



The most rational treatment of moderate ascites is spironolactone alone or in combination with furosemide. However, it is unknown which of these two treatment schedules is preferable.


One hundred nonazotemic cirrhotic patients with moderate ascites were randomly assigned to be treated with spironolactone and furosemide (Group 1: 50 patients) or with spironolactone alone (Group 2: 50 patients). If no response was obtained, the doses of diuretics were increased up to 400 mg/day of spironolactone and 160 mg/day of furosemide. In patients of group 2 not responding to 400 mg/day of spironolactone, furosemide was added. In cases with an excessive response, the dosage of diuretics was reduced.


The response rate (98% in Group 1 vs. 94% in Group 2), the rapidity of ascites mobilization and the incidence of complications induced by diuretic therapy was similar in both groups. The need to reduce the diuretic dosage was significantly higher in Group 1 than Group 2 (68% vs. 34%; P=0.002).


In the treatment of moderate ascites, spironolactone alone seems to be as safe and effective as spironolactone associated with furosemide. Since spironolactone alone requires less dose adjustment, it would be more suitable for treating ascites on an outpatient basis.

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