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Elevated plasma levels of vasoactive intestinal peptide in AIDS patients with refractory idiopathic diarrhoea. Effects of treatment with octreotide.


AIDS. 1993 Feb;7(2):223-6. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE MED/93221726

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate plasma levels of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in AIDS patients with refractory idiopathic diarrhoea, and to assess the role of treatment with octreotide. PATIENTS: Three AIDS patients were evaluated for severe watery diarrhoea of 2-6 months' duration, which was complicated by weight loss, weakness, and fluid and electrolyte abnormalities. They had not shown a significant response to several regimens of empirical antimicrobial chemotherapy, or symptomatic antidiarrhoeal treatment. METHODS: A complete diagnostic examination, including repeated microbiological evaluation and radiological, ultrasonographic, endoscopic and histological examination, was performed. Plasma levels of VIP were determined by radioimmunoassay and compared with concentrations in a group of healthy subjects. RESULTS: Since no clinically significant results were obtained from standard diagnostic evaluation and empirical therapeutical attempts, idiopathic refractory diarrhoea was diagnosed. Plasma concentrations of VIP were moderately elevated in all three subjects examined, with levels of 11.5, 17.5 and 9.5 pmol/l (values < 8.8 pmol/l in the control group). One patient received 50-100 micrograms octreotide three times daily subcutaneously for 6 months, resulting in complete resolution of diarrhoea and significant improvement in body weight and quality of life, together with a reduction in VIP concentration to within normal values. CONCLUSIONS: Although the somatostatin analogue octreotide has been used successfully in the management of both infectious and non-infectious AIDS-related diarrhoea, gastrointestinal neuroendocrine function and circulating humoral mediators of diarrhoea have not hitherto been investigated extensively in HIV-infected subjects. Our data on the association of idiopathic secretory diarrhoea and elevated plasma VIP levels provide a possible pathophysiological rationale for identifying AIDS patients whose refractory diarrhoea may be more responsive to octreotide treatment.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/*BLOOD/COMPLICATIONS/DRUG THERAPY Adult Case Report Diarrhea/*BLOOD/COMPLICATIONS Female Human Male Octreotide/ADMINISTRATION & DOSAGE/THERAPEUTIC USE Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide/*BLOOD/SECRETION JOURNAL ARTICLE


Information in this article was accurate in July 30, 1993. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.