Last Updated on Feb 20, 2016

Treatment of Biliary Cirrhosis

Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and liver transplantation constitutes the main treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis.

Treatment of biliary cirrhosis includes:

  • Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is used for the treatment of PCA. UDCA appears to improve survival and slow the liver damage, thus delaying the requirement for liver transplantation.
  • Corticosteroids are effective in PCA, however, their harmful effects may outweigh their benefits, and hence they are not used in the treatment of PCA.
  • Cholestyramine, rifampicin, naloxone and plasmapheresis (procedure used to purify the blood) are useful to treat itching.
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplementation may help to reduce osteoporosis or bone thinning.
  • Liver transplantation is necessary in cases of severe liver damage.


  1. Simon Hohenester & Ronald P. J. Oude-Elferink & Ulrich Beuers. Primary biliary cirrhosis. Semin Immunopathol (2009) 31:283–307.
  2. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 17th edition

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