INTRODUCTION - Hepatic encephalopathy is a well-known neuropsychiatric syndrome occurring in patients with either acute or chronic liver diseases. Rifaximin, a non-absorbable antibiotic is accepted for the treatment of hepatic encehalopathy. Our aim was to investigate the efficacy and the safety of rifaximin in cirrhotic patients with hepatic encephalopathy in Hungary. PATIENTS AND METHODS - 49 patients (25 male and 24 female) with hepatic encephalopathy stage I., II. and III. were involved into the study. Patients were treated with rifaximin for seven days. The daily dose was 3×400 mg in tablets. The severity of hepatic encephalopathy was characterised by hepatic encephalopathy index (HEi) calculated as a score of five parameters; mental state, asterixis, ammonia level, number connection test and critical flicker frequency. Pretreatment and postreatment HEi were compared. RESULTS - The study was completed in 46 patients. The treatment was suspended in 2 patients who died in liver failure and in one because of oesophageal variceal bleeding. The plasma ammonia level decreased from 103.7 ± 46.4 μmol/L to 67.7 ± 32.3 μmol/L (p=0,007) during the treatment. The hepatic encephalopathy index improved in 39 (85%) patients, worsened in 4 (9%) and no change was observed in 3 cases (6%). Improvement was observed in patients both with Child B and Child C stages. Loose stool in two patients and nausea in one patient were the only registered side effects. No severe adverse event related to the study medication was observed. CONCLUSIONS - Rifaximin is an effective and safe medicine for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Lege Artis Medicinae|
|Publication status||Published - May 1 2004|
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