New use for an old drug could impact cirrhosis patients - (Science Daily via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Study data published in JAMA Internal Medicine describe the potential to use polyethylene glycol 3350-electrolyte solution (PEG), also marketed as GoLYTELY, to treat acute hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis, Science Daily reported Tuesday.
  • In the study, 50 patients with acute hepatic encephalopathy were randomised to receive lactulose or PEG.
  • The researchers found that 91 percent of patients in the PEG group exhibited improvements, versus 52 percent for the lactulose group, while PEG-treated patients had a shorter hospital stay.
  • "On average, [the duration of hospitalisation for acute hepatic encephalopathy] can be about five days overall, depending on the underlying precipitant," remarked study author Robert Rahimi, adding "in patients who took the PEG solution, [hepatic encephalopathy] resolved one day quicker. So there's an overall potential for decreased length of stay, which could result in cost savings."
  • "Because lactulose is the standard of care for outpatients as well, this new research might lead to different medicines that can be used from an outpatient standpoint, which could help prevent patients from even getting hospitalized in the first place," Rahimi continued.

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