There are a number of treatments for the symptoms of PBC. Some of them help with any unpleasant side effects, such as dry eyes, and others slow the progress of the disease.
Controlling your condition
A medication called ursodeoxycholic acid has helped some people. Although early studies failed to show any direct impact on survival rates, new evidence suggests that URSO may help to keep people alive for a longer period of time and delay liver transplantation. However, a liver transplant is the only option for people who have advanced PBC.
Managing unpleasant symptoms
Itching skin: cholestyramine (also known as Questran) may be prescribed by your doctor to help ease the itch. Taken orally, cholestyramine works by preventing re-absorption of the chemicals that cause itching. It can take days or even weeks before this becomes effective.
Some people taking cholestyramine have problems such as changed bowel habits and bloating.
Your doctor may prescribe ‘Questran light' to reduce these side effects. If cholestyramine does not help, a hospital specialist may try other medicines. Itching is made worse by dry skin. It is very important to use plenty of moisturiser.
Dry eyes and dry mouth: the combination of dry eyes and a dry mouth might be soothed by treatments such as artificial tears and saliva, lubricating gels and oestrogen creams. You may find that lozenges from your pharmacist will help with the dryness in your mouth.