Indomethacin to prevent post-ERCP pancreatitis

“Take two and call me in the morning” may now apply to the use of indomethacin in preventing post-ERCP pancreatitis.  A multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial has shown that rectal indomethacin (two 50 mg suppositories) can reduce the rate of post-ERCP pancreatitis (NEJM 2012; 366: 1414-22).

A total of 602 adult patients were enrolled.  Patient selection favored those at increased risk for post-ERCP pancreatitis (eg. suspicion of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction) and excluded those at low risk for this complication (eg. routine biliary stent exchange, chronic calcific pancreatitis, or a pancreatic head mass).  Other exclusion criteria included active pancreatitis, elevated creatinine (>1.4 mg/dL), active peptic ulcer disease, and those already receiving a NSAID.

The suppositories (or placebo) were administered immediately after ERCP while the patient remained in the procedure room.

Post-ERCP pancreatitis developed in 27 of 295 patients (9.2%) in indomethacin group and in 52 of 307 patients (16.9%) in placebo group.  In addition, moderate-to-severe pancreatitis was reduced as well 4.4% compared with 8.8% respectively.  In addition, there were no increased adverse events in the treatment arm; there was no increased risk of bleeding in particular.

While the mechanism of improvement is unclear, NSAIDs are potent inhibitors of phospholipase A2, cyclooxygenase, and neutrophil-endothelial interactions, all of which are known to play a role in the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis.

Additional references:

  • -Am J Gastroenterol 2007; 102: 978-83.  Use of indomethacin to reduce pancreatitis after ERCP
  • -Gut 2008; 57: 1262-7.  Meta-analysis of rectal NSAIDs to prevent post-ERCP pancreatitis

4 thoughts on “Indomethacin to prevent post-ERCP pancreatitis

  1. Pingback: What and When for ERCP with Gallstone Pancreatitis | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: Why an ERCP Study Matters to Pediatric Care | gutsandgrowth

  3. Pingback: NASPGHAN Postgraduate Course 2014 -Endoscopy Module | gutsandgrowth

  4. Pingback: When A Disease Turns Out to Be Fictitious -The Sad Story on Sphincter of Oddi Dysfxn | gutsandgrowth

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