Silymarin, derived from the milk thistle plant Silybum marianum, is widely used for self-treatment of liver diseases, including hepatitis C virus (HCV), and its antiviral activity has been demonstrated in vitro and in HCV patients administered an intravenous formulation of the major silymarin flavonolignans, silybin A and silybin B. The safety and dose-exposure relationships of higher than customary oral doses of silymarin and its acute effects on serum HCV RNA were evaluated in noncirrhotic HCV patients. Four cohorts of 8 patients with well-compensated, chronic noncirrhotic HCV who failed interferon-based therapy were randomized 3:1 to silymarin or placebo. Oral doses of 140, 280, 560, or 700 mg silymarin were administered every 8 hours for 7 days. Steady-state exposures for silybin A and silybin B increased 11-fold and 38-fold, respectively, with a 5-fold increase in dose, suggesting nonlinear pharmacokinetics. No drug-related adverse events were reported, and no clinically meaningful reductions from baseline serum transaminases or HCV RNA titer were observed. Oral doses of silymarin up to 2.1 g per day were safe and well tolerated. The nonlinear pharmacokinetics of silybin A and silybin B suggests low bioavailability associated with customary doses of silymarin may be overcome with doses above 700 mg.