Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gastrointest Endosc. 2009 Oct;70(4):658-664.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2009.02.029. Epub 2009 Jul 29.

Pharmacotherapy plus endoscopic intervention is more effective than pharmacotherapy or endoscopy alone in the secondary prevention of esophageal variceal bleeding: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials.

Author information

  • 1VA Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio, USA.



Previous clinical trials on the treatment of esophageal variceal bleeding yielded mixed results regarding the efficacy of endoscopic procedures compared with pharmacotherapy only.


To compare the efficacy of endoscopic procedures with that of pharmacotherapy in the prevention of mortality and rebleeding.


A systematic literature review was performed to identify randomized, controlled trials of the efficacy of pharmacotherapy and endoscopic therapy. A meta-analysis was performed by using the Comprehensive MetaAnalysis software package. A 2-sided alpha error <.05 was considered statistically significant (P < .05).


Twenty-five clinical trials with a total of 2159 patients were eligible for meta-analysis.


Relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was computed for all-cause mortality, mortality from rebleeding, all-cause rebleeding, and rebleeding caused by varices.


Pharmacotherapy was as effective as endoscopic procedures in preventing rebleeding (RR 1.067; 95% CI, 0.865-1.316; P = .546), variceal rebleeding (RR 1.143; 95% CI, 0.791-1.651; P = .476), all-cause mortality (RR 0.997; 95% CI, 0.827-1.202, P = .978), and mortality from rebleeding (RR 1.171; 95% CI, 0.816-1.679; P = .39). Pharmacotherapy combined with endoscopic procedures did not reduce all-cause mortality (RR 0.787; 95% CI, 0.587-1.054; P = .108) or mortality caused by rebleeding (RR 0.786; 95% CI, 0.445-1.387; P = .405) compared with endoscopic procedures. However, combination therapy (endoscopic procedure plus pharmacotherapy) significantly reduced the incidence of all rebleeding (RR 0.623; 95% CI, 0.523-0.741; P < .001) and variceal rebleeding (RR 0.601; 95% CI, 0.440-0.820; P < .001).


Heterogeneity of patient population and different treatment protocols may have affected our meta-analysis.


Pharmacotherapy may be as effective as endoscopic therapy in reducing rebleeding rates and all-cause mortality. Pharmacotherapy plus endoscopic intervention is more effective than endoscopic intervention alone.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Health
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk