Expert perspectives for the pharmacist on facilitating and improving the use of albumin in cirrhosis

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2023 Apr 4:zxad070. doi: 10.1093/ajhp/zxad070. Online ahead of print.


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PURPOSE: Albumin, the most abundant and arguably most important protein in the human body, plays a unique role in decompensated cirrhosis because its structure and function are quantitatively and qualitatively affected. A literature review was performed to provide insights into albumin use. The manuscript was developed using a multidisciplinary approach; 2 hepatologists, a nephrologist, a hospitalist, and a pharmacist, who are all members of or work closely with the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation, collaborated to write this expert perspective review.

SUMMARY: Cirrhosis represents the potential end in the spectrum of all chronic liver diseases. Decompensated cirrhosis, defined by the overt manifestation of liver failure (eg, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, variceal bleeding), is the inflection point associated with increased mortality. Human serum albumin (HSA) infusion serves an important role in the treatment of advanced liver disease. The benefits of HSA administration in patients with cirrhosis are widely accepted, and its use has been advocated by several professional societies. However, inappropriate HSA use can lead to significant adverse patient events. This paper discusses the rationale for the administration of HSA in the treatment of complications of cirrhosis, analyzes the data on the use of HSA in cirrhosis, and streamlines practical recommendations set forth in published guidance.

CONCLUSION: Use of HSA in clinical practice needs to be improved. The objective of this paper is to empower pharmacists to facilitate and improve the use of HSA in patients with cirrhosis at their practice sites.

PMID:37013893 | DOI:10.1093/ajhp/zxad070

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