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Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Treatment

Because there is no cure for primary biliary cirrhosis, treating the disease involves trying to slow down its progression and treat symptoms and complications that occur. Some specific primary biliary cirrhosis treatments include lifestyle changes (such as getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B), medications, and a liver transplant. About 80 percent to 90 percent of people who undergo a liver transplant survive the procedure.

An Overview of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Treatment

There are no treatments available to cure primary biliary cirrhosis. Therefore, treatment for biliary cirrhosis is focused on slowing down the progression of the disease and treating any symptoms or complications that may occur.
Depending on these factors, your healthcare provider may recommend any of the following treatments for primary biliary cirrhosis:
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications
  • Treatment of complications
  • A liver transplant.

Lifestyle Changes as Part of Treatment for Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

There are a number of lifestyle changes that a person with primary biliary cirrhosis should make to help prevent further damage to the liver. Some of these lifestyle changes include:
  • Stop drinking alcohol completely. Alcohol will only lead to more liver damage.


  • Do not take any medications -- including those you can buy without a prescription, such as vitamins and herbal supplements -- without discussing them with your doctor. Primary biliary cirrhosis makes your liver sensitive to certain medications.



  • Avoid eating raw oysters or other raw shellfish. Raw shellfish can harbor bacteria (Vibrio vulnificus) that cause severe infections in people with primary biliary cirrhosis.
You should also talk with your healthcare provider about how much exercise you should get, as well as any diet changes you should make (see Cirrhosis Diet). Exercise is important for people with primary biliary cirrhosis because it can help prevent osteoporosis, which is a common complication of primary biliary cirrhosis. Following a healthy diet is essential because the body needs all of the nutrients it can get. As part of your diet, your healthcare provider may recommend vitamin or calcium supplements (to help with osteoporosis). Your healthcare provider may also recommend other osteoporosis prevention strategies, such as quitting smoking and possibly taking osteoporosis medications.
Vitamin A and K may be given to help with night blindness and blood clotting.
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