Polyethylene Glycol Versus Lactulose on Hepatic Encephalopathy in Patients With Cirrhosis;(PEGHE Trial)

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • End date
    Jun 30, 2022
  • participants needed
    102
  • sponsor
    Aga Khan University
Updated on 18 July 2021
antibiotics
bloating
lactulose
encephalopathy
liver disease
cirrhosis
confusion
sugars
asterixis

Summary

Hepatic Encephaopathy is a common complication occurring in patients with Liver cirrhosis. Patients usually develop mild confusion, sleep disturbance or obtundation. It occurs due to accumulation of excess ammonia in the brain, as the liver is unable to metabolize the ammonia. The common gold standard treatment recommended for patients with Hepatic Encephalopathy is Lactulose syrup. This is a non absorbable sugar, often combined with an antibiotic called Rifaxamine to treat this condition.

Polyethylene glycol is in a class of medications called osmotic laxatives which works by causing water to be retained with the stool. PEG and lactulose, when used together, result in faster resolution of symptoms suggesting that PEG may be superior to standard lactulose therapy in these patients.

Non-absorbable sugars like lactulose are associated with non-serious (mainly gastrointestinal) adverse events like diarrhea and bloating Hence, due to the side effect profile, newer drugs continue to be tested for treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy.

The aim of this research project is to compare the effect of PEG versus lactulose for treatment of HE in patients with liver cirrhosis. The investigators want to compare the resolution of HE as the main outcome. In addition, they will compare length of stay, non-serious (mainly gastrointestinal) adverse events, and 3 months outcome. The investigators hypothesize that rapid purgation of the gut using PEG may resolve HE more effectively than lactulose.

Description

Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a common neuropsychiatric complication of liver cirrhosis manifested by mild confusion, sleep disturbance or obtundation. Lactulose treatment has long been the standard of care, which presumably acidifies stool and eradicates toxic metabolites. However a third of these patients with hepatic encephalopathy do not respond to this standard treatment and have refractory HE. Hence newer drugs with effective improvement in HE and better side effect profile are still being tested.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is in a class of medications called osmotic laxatives which works by causing water to be retained with the stool. PEG and lactulose, when used together, result in rapid overt HE resolution within 24 hours compared to the standard-of-care lactulose, suggesting that PEG may be superior to standard lactulose therapy in patients with cirrhosis hospitalized for acute HE.

Rationale Non-absorbable disaccharides like lactulose are associated with non-serious (mainly gastrointestinal) adverse events like diarrhea and bloating, hence, due to the side effect profile, newer drugs continue to be tested for treatment of HE.

Hypothesis and Aim The aim of this research project is to compare the effect of PEG with Lactulose for treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy in patients with liver cirrhosis. The investigators want to compare the resolution of HE as the main outcome. In addition, they would compare length of stay, non-serious (mainly gastrointestinal) adverse events, and 3 months outcome. The investigators hypothesize that rapid purgation of the gut using PEG may resolve HE more effectively than lactulose.

These aims are original in that the investigators aim to test this hypothesis on a different patient population (South Asian), where the predominant cause of cirrhosis is due to viral hepatitis C and B. In addition,the investigators will also look at the effect of PEG v lactulose on 3 months outcome in this study.

Significance The significance of this proposal is that if the investigators can prove the hypothesis, it will add to the currently limited evidence on use of PEG in treatment of HE in the world. PEG might have a better side effect profile when compared to lactulose. Based on current market pricing of lactulose, if PEG is found to have favorable outcome then it might be more cost effective as well. Hence PEG might be a useful alternative in 30% of those who don't respond to lactulose, if PEG shows favorable outcome.

Objective Primary: To determine the effect of PEG versus Lactulose on resolution of HE in patients with liver cirrhosis during inpatient stay at 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours .

Secondary: To determine the effect of Lactulose versus PEG on length of stay, and 3 months outcome in patients with liver cirrhosis.

Details
Condition Hepatic Encephalopathy, Hepatic Failure, Liver Failure
Treatment Lactulose, Polyethylene Glycols
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04436601
SponsorAga Khan University
Last Modified on18 July 2021

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

All patients of 18-80 years admitted to Aga Khan University Hospital
With Chronic liver disease: Chronic liver disease will be defined based on ultra-sonographic evidence of chronic liver disease including shrunken liver, dilated portal vein, splenomegaly
With Hepatic encephalopathy; Hepatic encephalopathy will be defined as the onset of disorientation or asterixis according to The International Society for Hepatic Encephalopathy and Nitrogen Metabolism consensus and will be assessed using HESA score
Presence of first degree relative for consent (Next of kin)

Exclusion Criteria

Allergy to PEG
Bowel obstruction or perforation diagnosed clinically or on Xray
Major psychiatric illness; on benzodiazepines
Treated with locally acting antibiotics (rifaximin) in the previous 7 days
Active gastrointestinal tract bleeding
Acute Liver failure:defined as coagulopathy (international normalized ratio >1.5) with any degree of AMS in the absence of underlying chronic liver disease (CLD)
Female patients if pregnant or lactating
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