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Longitudinal outcomes of obeticholic acid therapy in ursodiol-nonresponsive primary biliary cholangitis: Stratifying the impact of add-on fibrates in real-world practice.

BACKGROUND: Suboptimal response to ursodeoxycholic acid occurs in 40% of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) patients, affecting survival. Achieving a deep response (normalisation of alkaline phosphatase [ALP] and bilirubin ≤0.6 upper limit of normal) improves survival. Yet, the long-term effectiveness of second-line treatments remains uncertain.

AIMS: To evaluate the long-term effectiveness of obeticholic acid (OCA) ± fibrates. Focusing on biochemical response (ALP ≤1.67 times the upper limit of normal, with a decrease of at least 15% from baseline and normal bilirubin levels), normalisation of ALP, deep response and biochemical remission (deep response plus aminotransferase normalisation).

METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal, observational, multicentre study involving ursodeoxyccholic acid non-responsive PBC patients (Paris-II criteria) from Spain and Portugal who received OCA ± fibrates.

RESULTS: Of 255 patients, median follow-up was 35.1 months (IQR: 20.2-53). The biochemical response in the whole cohort was 47.2%, 61.4% and 68.6% at 12, 24 and 36 months. GLOBE-PBC and 5-year UK-PBC scores improved (p < 0.001). Triple therapy (ursodeoxycholic acid plus OCA plus fibrates) had significantly higher response rates than dual therapy (p = 0.001), including ALP normalisation, deep response and biochemical remission (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, triple therapy remained independently associated with biochemical response (p = 0.024), alkaline phosphatase normalisation, deep response and biochemical remission (p < 0.001). Adverse effects occurred in 41.2% of cases, leading to 18.8% discontinuing OCA. Out of 55 patients with cirrhosis, 12 developed decompensation. All with baseline portal hypertension.

CONCLUSION: Triple therapy was superior in achieving therapeutic goals in UDCA-nonresponsive PBC. Decompensation was linked to pre-existing portal hypertension.

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