- Take the Liver Disease Quiz
- A Visual Guide to Hepatitis Slideshow
- Take the Alcohol Quiz
- Patient Comments: Primary Biliary Cirrhosis - Experience
- Patient Comments: Primary Biliary Cirrhosis - Symptoms
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
- Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) definition
- What are the causes of primary biliary cirrhosis?
- What are the risk factors for primary biliary cirrhosis?
- What are the signs and symptoms for primary biliary cirrhosis?
- How is the diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis made?
- What is the treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis?
- What are the complications of primary biliary cirrhosis?
- Can primary biliary cirrhosis be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for someone with primary biliary cirrhosis?
What is the treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis?
The only "cure" for primary biliary cirrhosis is liver transplant, but it is only considered as a treatment option if other less aggressive treatments have failed and the patient develops liver failure.
Ursodiol (Actigal) or ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is the first line treatment for PBC. It helps the liver transport bile into the gallbladder and intestine, in an attempt to prevent cholestasis.
Itching may be intense and difficult to control. Antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be helpful but other drugs may be considered including cholestyramine (Questran, Questran Light), which helps bind bile and decrease the itching associated with elevated bilirubin levels in the blood.