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Gastroenterology. 1993 Mar;104(3):869-76.

Indomethacin-induced renal dysfunction in patients with well-compensated cirrhosis.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Alfred Hospital, Victoria, Australia.



Patients with cirrhosis and ascites are especially sensitive to the adverse renal effects of indomethacin-induced inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. The aim of this study was to determine whether indomethacin affects renal function in patients with well-compensated cirrhosis.


Clearance techniques were used to assess renal hemodynamics and sodium and water homeostasis.


The oral administration of 50 mg of indomethacin to well-compensated patients with alcoholic cirrhosis was followed by a significant decrease in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and effective renal plasma flow because of a preferential increase in afferent arteriolar tone. Indomethacin was both antidiuretic and antinatriuretic due principally to decreased free water clearance and increased proximal tubular reabsorption of sodium. The acute changes in renal function were not sustained. Patients with a high basal GFR were particularly sensitive to the adverse renal effects of indomethacin.


This study indicates that in patients with well-compensated cirrhosis renal prostaglandins are functionally active and may contribute to the pathogenesis of glomerular hyperfiltration. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be used with caution in all patients with cirrhosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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