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Lancet. 1990 Apr 21;335(8695):953-5.

Treatment of bleeding gastrointestinal vascular malformations with oestrogen-progesterone.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.


10 patients with frequent and severe bleeding from gastrointestinal vascular malformations took part in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial of a daily dose of 0.05 mg ethinyloestradiol plus 1 mg norethisterone given by mouth. Each arm of the trial lasted 6 months. Oestrogen-progesterone significantly decreased the transfusion need from 10.9 to 1.1 units packed cells (p less than 0.003). While on oestrogen-progesterone 2 of 9 patients required transfusions (mean 1.1 units packed cells per patient over 6 months), whereas all patients had to be transfused while on placebo (mean 10.9 units per patient over 6 months; p = 0.002 for number of patients). No significant excess of side-effects was noted with the active agents. The findings indicate that oestrogen-progesterone is an effective treatment for severely bleeding gastrointestinal vascular malformations.

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