Also Known As: Octreotide, Sandostatin

Octreotide (brand name Sandostatin, Novartis Pharmaceuticals) is an octapeptide that mimics natural somatostatin pharmacologically, though it is a more potent inhibitor of growth hormone, glucagon, and insulin than the natural hormone. It was first synthesized in 1979 by the chemist Wilfried Bauer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the usage of a salt form of this peptide, octreotide acetate, as an injectable depot formulation for the treatment of acromegaly, gigantism, thyrotropinoma, diarrhea and flushing episodes associated with carcinoid syndrome, and diarrhea in patients with vasoactive intestinal peptide-secreting tumors (VIPomas).


Octreotide is used in nuclear medicine imaging by labelling with indium-111 (Octreoscan) to noninvasively image neuroendocrine and other tumours expressing somatostatin receptors.[1] More recently, it has been radiolabelled with gallium-68, enabling imaging with positron emission tomography (PET), which provides higher resolution and sensitivity.

Octreotide can also be labelled with a variety of radionuclides, such as yttrium-90 or lutetium-177, to enable peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) for the treatment of unresectable neuroendocrine tumours.

Off-label and experimental uses

Octreotide has also been used off-label for the treatment of severe, refractory diarrhea from other causes. It is used in toxicology for the treatment of prolonged recurrent hypoglycemia after sulfonylurea and possibly meglitinides overdose. It has also been used with varying degrees of success in infants with nesidioblastosis to help decrease insulin hypersecretion.

In patients with suspected oesophageal varices, octreotide can be given to help decrease bleeding.[2] It has been investigated for patients with pain from chronic pancreatitis,[3] and it may be useful in the treatment of thymic neoplasms.[citation needed]

The drug has been used off-label, injected subcutaneously, in the management of hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy (HPOA) secondary to non-small cell lung carcinoma. Although its mechanism is not known, it appears to reduce the pain associated with HPOA.[citation needed]

It has been used in the treatment of malignant bowel obstruction.[4]

Octreotide may be used in conjunction with midodrine to partially reverse peripheral vasodilation in the hepatorenal syndrome. By increasing systemic vascular resistance, these drugs reduce shunting and improve renal perfusion, prolonging survival until definitive treatment with liver transplant.[5]

While successful treatment has been demonstrated in case reports,[6][7] larger studies have failed to demonstrate efficacy in treating chylothorax.[8]

A small study has shown that octreotide may be effective in the treatment of idiopathic intracranial hypertension.[9][10]

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