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MINERVA GASTROENTEROLOGICA E DIETOLOGICA
A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics
Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2000 September;46(3):165-74
Treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis
Parés A., Rodés J.
Primary biliary cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease of unknown etiology, characterized by inflammation and destruction of the intrahepatic biliary ducts, resulting in chronic cholestasis and eventually cirrhosis. The main clinical manifestations consists of pruritus, jandince, xanthomas, and the consequences of intestinal malabsorption, including vitamin deficiences and osteodystrophy. Treatment of PBC is addressed at preventing or relieving the symptoms and clinical consequences of chronic cholestasis, and also at correcting the bile duct abnormalities by specific treatments. Pruritus is treated with cholestyramine, but in some cases other drugs, such as rifampicin or opioid antagonists are needed. Bisphosphanates are effective for increasing bone mass in osteopenic patients. Vitamin D and cAlcium supplements are also recommended, particularly in patients with severe cholestasis. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has become the standard treatment (13-15 mg/kg/day), resulting in marked relieving of cholestasis. UDCA also prevents the histological progression of the disease, although the effects on survival are less apparent. Small trials of combination therapy using UDCA with methotrexate, colchicine, or prednisone, have been reported but have not shown any increased efficacy over UDCA therapy. Liver transplantation is the only treatment available when cholestasis progresses, with very good survival rates.