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Ursodeoxycholic Acid Therapy in Patients with Primary Biliary Cholangitis with Limited Liver Transplantation Availability

Yazmín K. Melchor-Mendoza, Braulio Martinez-Benítez, Aline Mina-Hawat, Gustavo Rodríguez-Leal, Ximena Duque, Segundo Morán-Villota


Introduction. There is little information on survival rates of patients with primary biliary cholangtis (PBC) in developing countries. This is particularly true in Latin America, where the number of liver transplants performed remains extremely low for patients with advanced liver disease who fulfill criteria for liver transplantation. The goal of this study was to compare survival rate of patients with PBC in developing countries who were treated with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) versus survival of patients who received other treatments (OT) without UDCA, prescribed before the UDCA era. Material and methods. A retrospective study was performed, including records of 78 patients with PBC in the liver unit in a third level referral hospital in Mexico City. Patients were followed for five years from initial diagnosis until death related to liver disease or to the end of the study. Patients received UDCA (15 mg/kg/per day) (n = 41) or OT (n = 37) before introduction of UDCA in Mexico. Results. Response to treatment was higher in the group that received UDCA. In the five years of follow-up, survival rates were significantly higher in the UDCA group than in the OT group. The hazard ratio of death was higher in the OT group vs. UDCA group, HR 8.78 (95% CI, 2.52-30.61); Mayo Risk Score and gender were independently associated with the risk of death. Conclusions. The study confirms that the use of UDCA in countries with a limited liver transplant program increases survival in comparison to other treatments used before the introduction of UDCA.

Key words. Ursodeoxycholic acid, Primary biliary cholangitis, Latin America, Survival rates

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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