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What Comes after Ursodeoxycholic Acid in Primary Biliary Cholangitis?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lin Lee Wong, Dr Vinod Hegade, Professor David Jones


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© 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel. Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare autoimmune liver disease characterized by chronic cholestasis. Treatment with the accepted primary therapy ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been shown to be associated with delayed disease progression probably through reduced impact of cholestatic injury on the target biliary epithelial cells. Patients with inadequate response to UDCA (which can be identified through validated biochemical criteria) are at increased risk of disease progression, need for liver transplantation, and death. Obeticholic acid (OCA) is a farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist which has been evaluated as a second-line therapy in PBC and has been recently licensed by the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency for use in patients showing an inadequate response to UDCA or who are unable to tolerate it. Although evidence for biochemical improvement by OCA is compelling, there is, as yet, no evidence that OCA improves hard clinical outcomes or quality of life. In addition, OCA may not be suitable for PBC patients with pruritus as it can worsen the symptom. Other novel agents currently in clinical development may have better side-effect profile. Fibrates have the potential but currently lack high quality evidence to support their routine clinical use in PBC. Symptom management of PBC is challenging and ASBT inhibitors and rituximab are being evaluated for pruritus and fatigue, respectively.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wong LL, Hegade VS, Jones DEJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Digestive Diseases

Year: 2017

Volume: 35

Issue: 4

Pages: 359-366

Online publication date: 03/05/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0257-2753

ISSN (electronic): 1421-9875

Publisher: S. Karger AG


DOI: 10.1159/000467547


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