Source Department of Medicine, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of L-ornithine-L-aspartate (LOLA) as an adjuvant therapy in cirrhotic patients with hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
Study Design: Randomized placebo controlled study. Place and Duration of Study: The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi in the year 2003-2004.
Methodology: Patients with HE were randomized to receive LOLA or placebo medicine as an adjuvant to treatment of HE. Number connection test-A (NCT-A), ammonia level, clinical grade of HE and duration of hospitalization were assessed.
Results: Out of 120 patients, there were 62 males with mean age of 57 ± 11 years. Improvement in HE was higher (n=40, 66.7%) in LOLA group as compared to the placebo group (n=28, 46.7%, p=0.027). In patients with grade I or less encephalopathy, improvement was seen in 6 (35.3%) and 3 (20%) patients in LOLA and placebo groups respectively (p=0.667). Patients with HE grade II and above showed improvement in 34 (79.1%) and 25 (55.6%) cases in LOLA and placebo group respectively (p=0.019). On multivariate analysis patients with HE of grade II and above showed prothrombin time, creatinine level and use of LOLA influencing the outcome. Duration of hospitalization was 93.6±25.7 hours and 135.2±103.5 hours in LOLA and placebo groups respectively (p=0.025). No side effects were observed in either groups.
Conclusion: In cirrhotic patients with advanced hepatic encephalopathy treatment with LOLA was safe and associated with relatively rapid improvement and shorter hospital stay.