, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 473-476

Effects of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) on serum liver damage indices in patients with chronic active hepatitis

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The effects of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA, 450 mg daily) in patients with histologically proven chronic active hepatitis (CAH) have been evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Twenty-six patients with serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values at least twice the normal upper limit in two of three pre-treatment tests received UDCA or a placebo for twelve weeks.

In all UDCA-treated patients, serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), ALT, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) and alkaline phosphatase (AP) fell significantly after 4 weeks of treatment. There was a further decrease at the end of therapy, as well as a small but significant fall in total serum bilirubin. Conversely, 4 weeks aftersuspension of therapy, serum enzyme levels had increased, reaching values not much lower than those recorded before treatment. Total serum protein, albumin and γ-globulin did not change after UDCA treatment. In the placebo group no significant variation in the test results were found.

The results indicate that UDCA therapy in CAH, as has been observed in primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, is able to improve several indices of liver damage, without producing any toxic adverse effects.