- 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?
Can primary biliary cirrhosis be prevented?
Since the cause of the disease is not known, it is not possible to prevent PBC. However, medications may be able to slow the progression of the disease and control the symptoms.
Should a person develop PBC, all attempts should be made to prevent further potential damage. This may include limiting alcohol intake, avoiding the use of medications that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol), and cholesterol lowering agents.
What is the prognosis for someone with primary biliary cirrhosis?
PBC is a progressive disease that can be controlled but not cured. The prognosis depends upon a variety of factors including whether the patient has symptoms (especially fatigue), liver function test abnormalities, and whether the patient has undergone treatment with medication or has required liver transplantation.
Advances in treatment have extended the life expectancy in the past many years. The average survival from diagnosis for a patient with PBC who is asymptomatic is 16 years, while that of patients with symptoms is 7 1/2 years.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
Dancygier, H. Clinical Hepatology.