NICE recommends drug to prevent episodes of hepatic encephalopathy

Rifaximin (Targaxan) has been accepted by NICE for preventing recurrent hepatic encephalopathy.

Hepatic encephalopathy is a complication of cirrhosis. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hepatic encephalopathy is a complication of cirrhosis. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Rifaximin is recommended by NICE as an option for reducing recurrent episodes of overt hepatic encephalopathy in adults.

Further information
NICE technology appraisal TA337

Rifaximin is a semi-synthetic derivative of the antibiotic rifamycin. It is thought to delay episodes of hepatic encephalopathy by reducing intestinal absorption and production of ammonia. High levels of ammonia and other toxins are believed to cause the neurocognitive symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy.

The SPC notes that over 90% of patients in the pivotal study of rifaximin were also taking lactulose.

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