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Safety and Efficacy of AST-120 Compared to Lactulose in Patients With Hepatic Encephalopathy (AST015)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Ocera Therapeutics Identifier:
First received: November 9, 2007
Last updated: May 27, 2014
Last verified: May 2014
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the experimental drug AST-120 compared to lactulose in patients with mild hepatic encephalopathy.

Condition Intervention Phase
Hepatic Encephalopathy
Drug: AST-120
Drug: lactulose
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Comparison of Different Treatment Regimens in Patients With Stage 1-2 Type C Hepatic Encephalopathy: AST-120 vs Lactulose

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Ocera Therapeutics:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in Westhaven Scale [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Efficacy: Change in Hepatic Encephalopathy Scoring Algorithm (HESA) [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Efficacy: Reduction of venous ammonia levels [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Efficacy: Serum bile acids and amino acid profile [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Efficacy: Reduction in itching (visual analog scale) [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Efficacy: Presence or absence of asterixis [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Safety: Clinical laboratory tests [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Safety: Physical examination, vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature) [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]

Enrollment: 40
Study Start Date: September 2007
Study Completion Date: June 2009
Primary Completion Date: March 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: 1 Drug: lactulose
Other Name: Chronulac, Constilac, Constulose, Duphalac, Evalose
Experimental: 2 Drug: AST-120

Detailed Description:

This is a multi-center, open-label, four week trial comparing AST-120 to lactulose in patients with mild (Stage 1-2) hepatic encephalopathy.

Patients will be randomized into two groups:

  • Lactulose
  • AST-120

Patients meeting the inclusion criteria will take either AST-120 or lactulose for 4 weeks (28 days). AST-120 will be distributed in 2 gram sachets to be taken four times daily. Lactulose will be taken in the same formulation, at the same dose and frequency as previously prescribed for the individual patient.

Lactulose naïve patients who are randomized to lactulose will receive an initial dose of 30cc twice a day. The dose should be titrated at the discretion of the investigator until the patient is experiencing 2-3 soft stools per day.

Patients randomized to AST-120 will receive 2 grams four times a day for the duration of the study. Titration of AST-120 will NOT be allowed.

Patients will be evaluated throughout the study for efficacy and safety. A follow-up visit will be scheduled 1 week after the end of the 4 week treatment period.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 70 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with End Stage Liver Disease secondary to any cause (patients who have undergone portosystemic shunting (TIPS) procedure > 3 months prior to randomization can be included)
  • Lactulose naïve patients or patients currently on an established dose of lactulose
  • MELD score ≤ 15 (MELD score up to 20 is allowable if it has remained stable for at least 3 months)
  • Meet the criteria for Stage 1-2 hepatic encephalopathy according to the Westhaven Scale
  • Patients must have discontinued rifaximin or other oral antibiotics for at least 48 hours prior to randomization
  • Able and willing to comply with all protocol procedures for the planned duration of the study
  • Able and willing to understand, sign and date an informed consent document, and authorize access to protected health information
  • Have a person (spouse, relative, or friend) willing to accompany the patient to the study visits (patients in this condition are not recommended to drive a vehicle)
  • Females must be postmenopausal, surgically incapable of bearing children, or practicing a reliable method of birth control (intrauterine devices, spermicide and barrier). Partner/spouse sterility may also qualify at the investigator's discretion. Females of child-bearing potential must have a negative urine pregnancy test at baseline.

Note: Patients already on lactulose and randomized to AST-120 will stop taking lactulose on the day they begin taking AST-120.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients whose condition necessitates continuous administration of antibiotics (e.g. rifaximin, neomycin, metronidazole)
  • Patients undergoing chemotherapy for treatment of cancer (patients with hepatocellular carcinoma being treated by methods other than chemotherapy may be enrolled)
  • Patients who require continued treatment with narcotics or sedatives
  • Patients who have active GI bleeding
  • Patients who have an active infection
  • Patients who have signs and symptoms of severe dehydration
  • Poor tolerability of venipuncture or lack of adequate venous access for required blood sampling
  • Unable to attend all visits required by the protocol
  • Female patients must be EXCLUDED if they are pregnant, breast feeding, planning to become pregnant during the study or using hormonal contraception as their only method of birth control
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00558038

United States, Alabama
University of Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama, United States, 35294
United States, California
Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, California, United States, 90048
Scripps Clinic
San Diego, California, United States, 92037
Veterans Medical Center San Diego
San Diego, California, United States, 92161
United States, District of Columbia
Washington Hospital Center - MedStar Research Institute
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, 20010
United States, Georgia
Digestive Healthcare of Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 30309
United States, Illinois
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60637
United States, Louisiana
Tulane University Health Sciences Center
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, 70112
United States, Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worchester, Massachusetts, United States, 01655
United States, New York
Weill Medical College of Cornell
New York, New York, United States, 10021
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York, New York, United States, 10029
United States, Ohio
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Cleveland, Ohio, United States, 44195
United States, Texas
Baylor University Medical Center
Dallas, Texas, United States, 75246
Baylor University Medical Center
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030
St. Luke's Advanced Liver Therapies / St. Luke's Texas Liver Coalition - Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030
United States, Virginia
Metropolitan Research
Fairfax, Virginia, United States, 22031
McGuire VA Medical Center
Richmond, Virginia, United States, 23249
Sponsors and Collaborators
Ocera Therapeutics
Principal Investigator: Paul Pockros, MD Scripps Clinic
  More Information

Responsible Party: Ocera Therapeutics Identifier: NCT00558038     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AST015
Study First Received: November 9, 2007
Last Updated: May 27, 2014

Keywords provided by Ocera Therapeutics:
Liver Disease
Liver Failure

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Brain Diseases
Hepatic Encephalopathy
Brain Diseases, Metabolic
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Liver Failure
Hepatic Insufficiency
Liver Diseases
Digestive System Diseases
Metabolic Diseases
Gastrointestinal Agents processed this record on April 27, 2017