Terlipressin and the Treatment of Hepatorenal Syndrome: How the CONFIRM Trial Moves the Story Forward

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Kidney Dis. 2021 Oct 1:S0272-6386(21)00890-8. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2021.08.016. Online ahead of print.


Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a form of acute kidney injury occurring in patients with advanced cirrhosis and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology underlying HRS begins with increasing portal pressures leading to the release of vasodilatory substances which result in pooling blood in the splanchnic system and a corresponding reduction in effective circulating volume. Compensatory activation of the sympathetic nervous system, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and release of arginine vasopressin serve to defend mean arterial pressure but at the cost of severe constriction of the renal vasculature, leading to a progressive, often fulminant form of AKI. While there are no approved treatments for HRS in the United States, multiple countries, including much of Europe, utilize terlipressin, a synthetic vasopressin analogue, as first-line therapy. The recently published CONFIRM trial, the third randomized trial based in North America evaluating terlipressin, met its primary endpoint, showing greater rates of HRS reversal in the terlipressin arm. However, due to concerns about apparent increased rates of respiratory adverse events and a lack of evidence for mortality benefit, terlipressin was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this Perspective, we explore the history of regulatory approval for terlipressin in the United States, examine the results from CONFIRM and the concerns they raised and consider the future role of terlipressin in this critical clinical area of continued unmet need.

PMID:34606933 | DOI:10.1053/j.ajkd.2021.08.016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.