Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 10, pp 2547–2554 | Cite as

Are Clinicians Ready for Safe Use of Stratified Therapy in Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC)? A Study of Educational Awareness

  • Laura Jopson
  • Amardeep Khanna
  • Patricia Peterson
  • Elaine Rudell
  • Margaret Corrigan
  • David JonesEmail author
Original Article



Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC, formerly cirrhosis), is a chronic cholestatic liver disease which until spring 2016 had a single licensed therapy, Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). Approximately 30% of patients do not respond to UDCA, and are high-risk for progressing to end stage liver disease, transplantation or death. A new era of stratified medicine with second-line therapies to treat high-risk disease is emerging, with the first such second-line agent obeticholic acid recently receiving FDA and EMA approval and entering practice. Recent experience in the USA of inappropriate use and associated deaths has highlighted concerns as to whether clinicians have the knowledge to implement second-line therapies appropriately and safely.


Online survey of knowledge regarding optimal PBC management in Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists in the USA; the first 100 completed responses from each group used for analysis.


80% of Hepatologists felt they were highly competent in their understanding of the importance of early diagnosis and early UDCA therapy in PBC compared with 65% of gastroenterologists. However, only 36% of Hepatologists and 30% of gastroenterologists felt competent at assessing response to UDCA. Competence in knowledge (mode of action, efficacy, and side effects) of second-line therapies and enrollment into trials was low among both groups.


Significant knowledge gaps in clinicians managing PBC presents a problem in optimizing care. It is perhaps not surprising that knowledge of emerging second-line therapies is low, however more concerning is sub-optimal use of UDCA in real-life practice and the lack of confidence at assessing treatment response which should be a routine part of clinical practice to assess risk of disease progression and will be key in delivering stratified medicine.


Primary biliary cholangitis/cirrhosis Cholestatic liver disease Clinical pharmacology Health economics Statistics 



European medicines agency


Food and drug administration


Obeticholic acid


Primary biliary cirrhosis


Projects in knowledge


Ursodeoxycholic acid


Author’s contribution

DJ, ER and PP were involved in the design of this study. LJ, AK, DJ, MC, ER and PP were involved in drafting this manuscript.


Data capture was funded by Projects in Knowledge in the context of educational material development. PP and ER are employed by Projects in Knowledge. DJ and LJ are funded by the Medical Research Council in the UK.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Jopson
    • 1
  • Amardeep Khanna
    • 1
  • Patricia Peterson
    • 2
  • Elaine Rudell
    • 2
  • Margaret Corrigan
    • 3
  • David Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Cellular MedicineNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Projects in Knowledge Inc.LivingstonUSA
  3. 3.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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