Combined medical treatment may provide further benefit to primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) patients administered ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA).


To evaluate the long-term effects of colchicine and UDCA in symptomatic PBC patients.


We extended up to 10 years the double-blind treatment of 44 symptomatic PBC patients originally included in a 3-year multicentre study comparing UDCA and colchicine (U + C) versus UDCA and placebo (U + P). Outcome measures were death or liver transplantation; incidence of clinically relevant events; clinical and quantitative variables retaining prognostic information.


Mean follow-up was 7 ± 3 years. One patient was lost, three withdrew because of jaundice (U + P); two patients stopped colchicine but remained on UDCA. Eleven patients (two for liver-unrelated reasons, U + P) and six patients (U + C) died, three and two patients, respectively, were transplanted (incidence rate difference, five cases per 100 patient-years; 95% CI, −1 to 11). Hepatocellular carcinoma developed in one (U + P) and four (U + C) patients (difference, −2; CI, −5 to 1), portal hypertension complications in nine patients from each group (difference, 1; CI, −5 to 6). Trends of serum bilirubin, Mayo score, antipyrine clearance were similar among treatment groups.


In cirrhotic PBC patients, colchicine does not offer additional benefits to UDCA. In this population, UDCA does not obviate disease progression.