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Life-Threatening Water Intoxication During Somatostatin Therapy

CORNELlS HALMA, M. D.; JAN B. M. J. JANSEN, M.D., Ph.D.; A. ROELOF JANSSENS, M.D., Ph.D.; GERRIT GRIFFIOEN, M.D.; and CORNELIS B. H. W. LAMERS, M.D., Ph.D.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Cornells Halma, M.D.; Department of Gastroenterology, Building 1, C4-P, University Hospital Leiden, P. O. Box 9600; 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands.


Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Leiden, Leiden, the Netherlands.


Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(4):518-520. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-107-4-518
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Short-term infusion (2 hours) of somatostatin has been shown to reduce urinary volume and free-water clearance in healthy persons (1). Although somatostatin is being widely used (2), water intoxication has not been described as a side effect. We report two cases of marked water retention and hyponatremia that occurred in patients receiving somatostatin therapy (given in continuous intravenous infusion at a rate of 250 μg/h after a loading dose of 250 μg). One patient had to be treated with hypertonic saline for hypo-osmolar coma.

Patient 1, a 44-year-old woman with multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 1, had had an insulinoma and

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