The long-term effect of ursodeoxycholic acid on laboratory liver parameters in biochemically non-advanced primary biliary cirrhosis.

E.M. Kuiper, B.E. Hansen, W. Lesterhuis, R.J. Robijn, J.C. Thijs, L.G.B. Engels, G.H. Koek, M.N. Aparicio, M.J. Kerbert Dreteler, H.R. van Buuren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has an established effect on liver biochemistries in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Few studies have evaluated long-term laboratory treatment effects and data beyond 6 years are not available. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term evolution of liver biochemistries during prolonged treatment with UDCA in biochemically non-advanced PBC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Prospective multicenter cohort study of patients with PBC with pretreatment normal bilirubin and albumin, treated with UDCA 13-15mg/kg/day. At yearly intervals, follow-up data including serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), transaminases, albumin and IgM were collected. Data were analyzed with a repeated measurement model. RESULTS: Two hundred and twenty-five patients were included and followed during a median period of 10.3 years. Following 1-year treatment with UDCA 36-100% of the total biochemical improvement was achieved, the maximum response was observed after 3 years. After initial improvements, bilirubin and AST levels increased and albumin levels significantly decreased after 6-10 years. However, these changes were of limited magnitude. The beneficial effects on ALT and ALP were maintained while IgM continued to decrease. CONCLUSION: In non-advanced PBC the biochemical response to UDCA is maintained up to 15 years. The long-term evolution of bilirubin, albumin and ALT differs from that of ALP and AST. The mean IgM level normalised and levels continued to decrease during the period of follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalClinics and research in hepatology and gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • PBC

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