One-year pilot study on tauroursodeoxycholic acid as an adjuvant treatment after liver transplantation

M. Angelico, G. Tisone, L. Baiocchi, G. Palmieri, F. Pisani, S. Negrini, A. Anselmo, G. Vennarecci, C. U. Casciani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. The usefulness of ursodeoxycholic acid after liver transplantation is controversial. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid, the natural taurine-amidate, is a highly hydrophilic and cytoprotective bile salt currently under investigation. Aims. To investigate the clinical usefulness of tauroursodeoxycholic acid after liver transplantation. Patients. Thirty-three patients undergoing liver transplantation entered the study. Methods. Sixteen patients were randomized to receive tauroursodeoxycholic acid (250 b.i.d. for 12 months) and 17 served as controls. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid was given from day 5 after transplantation for one year. Results. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid treatment was safe and well tolerated. No drop outs occurred. Among the 29 patients undergoing long-term follow-up, five deaths occurred (3 of whom in the tauroursodeoxycholic acid group), none of which was related to treatment. The one-year actuarial survival was 78.6% in patients treated with tauroursodeoxycholic acid and 86.7% in controls (n.s.). No differences were observed with respect to early or ante graft function and survival, nor to acute cellular rejection. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid therapy was associated with lower serum cholesterol levels (p <0.02) during the early postoperative months; with milder cholestasis; with a drop in biliary cholates but no changes in endogenous hydrophobic bile salts. Conclusions. Long-term treatment with low dose tauroursodeoxycholic acid after liver transplantation is safe but does not affect graft function and survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-468
Number of pages7
JournalItalian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Early graft function
  • Liver transplantation
  • Tauroursodeoxycholate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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