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Gastroenterology. 1998 Jul;115(1):116-23.

Propranolol plus prazosin compared with propranolol plus isosorbide-5-mononitrate in the treatment of portal hypertension.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Clínica Puerta de Hierro, Madrid, Spain.



The association of prazosin to propranolol enhances the decrease in portal pressure but may cause hypotension and sodium retention. The aim of this study was to compare the portal pressure reduction and safety of the combination of propranolol plus prazosin with that of propranolol plus isosorbide-5-mononitrate (ISMN).


Fifty-six portal-hypertensive cirrhotics received randomly propranolol plus prazosin (n = 28) or propranolol plus ISMN (n = 28) orally for 3 months. Hemodynamics and liver and renal function were assessed at baseline and after 3 months.


Propranolol plus prazosin caused a greater reduction in hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) than propranolol plus ISMN (-24.2% +/- 11% vs. -16.1% +/- 11%; P < 0.01). A reduction in HVPG of > 20% was significantly more frequent in the propranolol plus prazosin group than in the propranolol plus ISMN group (85% vs. 53%; P < 0.05). Neither treatment modified hepatic blood flow, quantitative liver function test results, glomerular filtration rate, plasma renin activity, or plasma aldosterone level. Side effects occurred in 13 patients receiving propranolol plus prazosin compared with 7 receiving propranolol plus ISMN (P = 0.16).


Propranolol plus prazosin has a greater portal pressure-lowering effect than propranolol plus ISMN. Both therapies were safe for liver and renal function. However, the combination of propranolol plus prazosin caused a greater decrease in arterial pressure and was less well tolerated than propranolol plus ISMN.

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  • Blocking the bleeding way. [Gastroenterology. 1998]
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