octreotide in the treatment of oesophageal varices

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • synthetic analogue of somatostatin

  • longer half-life than somatostatin - therefore can be given by bolus injection rather than continuous infusion

  • a meta-analysis has collated trials published in English in which somatostatin or octreotide were compared with other vasoactive drugs (vasopressin or terlipressin), slerotherapy or balloon tamponade - the pooled results showed that somatostatin and octreotide were more effective than the other vasoactive drugs in the initial control of acute bleeding but neither appeared to reduce mortality rates (1)

  • evidence shows that the combination of somatostatin or octreotide and endoscopic therapy is more effective than either alone in controlling an initial oesophageal variceal bleed (2)


  • 1) Gotzsche PC. Somatostatin or octreotide for acute bleeding oesophageal varices (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 2, 2000. Oxford: Update Software.
  • 2) Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (2000), 38 (5), 37-40.