CHUM St-Luc Hospital and Department of Medicine, University of Montreal, Canada.
Clinic of Brandenburg, Medical University Brandenburg Theodor Fontane, Germany.
Institute of Psychology, Methodology, Diagnostics and Evaluations, University of Bonn, Germany.
Liver Intensive Therapy Unit, Institute of Liver Sciences, Division of Inflammation Biology, School of Immunology and Microbial Sciences, Kings College London, United Kingdom.
l-Ornithine l-Aspartate (LOLA) is a mixture of two endogenous amino acids with the capacity to fix ammonia in the form of urea and/or glutamine. Its' efficacy for the treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE), a known hyperammonemic disorder, remains the subject of debate. This study quantitatively analyzed the efficacy of LOLA in patients with cirrhosis and HE.
Efficacy was defined as the extent of lowering of blood ammonia and improvement of mental state assessed in clinically overt HE (OHE) by Westhaven criteria or psychometric testing for assessment of Minimal HE (MHE). Appropriate keywords were used for electronic and/or manual searches of databases to identify RCTs for inclusion. Study quality and risk of bias were assessed using the Jadad Composite Scale together with The Cochrane Scoring Tool. Random Effects Models were used to express pooled Risk Ratio (RR) or Mean Difference (MD) with associated 95% Confidence Intervals (CI).
10 RCTs (884 patients) were included. Regression analysis showed no evidence of publication bias or other small study effects. Eight RCTs had low risk of bias by Jadad/Cochrane criteria. Comparison with placebo/no intervention controls revealed that LOLA was significantly more effective for improvement of mental state in all types of HE (RR 1.36 (95% CI 1.10-1.69), p = 0.005), OHE (RR: 1.19, 95% CI of 1.01-1.39, test for overall effect: Z = 2.14, p = 0.03), MHE (RR: 2.15 (1.48-3.14), p < 0.0001) and for lowering of blood ammonia (MD: -17.50 μmol/l (-27.73 to (-7.26)), p = 0.0008). Improvement of mental state was greater in trials with low risk of bias. Heterogeneity was reduced in trials from Europe or with >100 participants. Oral LOLA appeared particularly effective for the treatment of MHE.
LOLA appears to improve mental state and lower ammonia in patients with HE or MHE. Further studies are required in some subgroups of HE and in the era of HE reclassification.