t-ERCP pancreatitis were dramatically reduced by administering a single dose of indomethacin, an anti-inflammatory medication that costs less than $5.
The drug is part of a category of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs that’s believed to inhibit an inflammatory response by the pancreas that can occur after endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP.
ERCP combines a lighted scope inserted through the mouth and X-ray pictures to examine the tubes draining the liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
In the study, only 9.2 percent of patients who took indomethacin developed post-ERCP pancreatitis compared to 16.9 percent of those who took a placebo―a 46 percent drop in relative risk.
“The results of the study were very impressive," Elmunzer said. “We found that indomethacin was highly protective."
Some patients have the GI procedure repeated as doctors examine the bile duct and pancreatic duct for growths, stones, open a narrowed duct or to seal leaks after surgery.
Funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the trial was conducted February 2009 to July 2011 at the U-M Health System, Indiana University, University of Kentucky and Case Western Reserve University.