Milk thistle has little effect on chronic hepatitis C

HealthDay reports, “Many patients with chronic hepatitis C turn to an alternative herbal treatment known as milk thistle, but a new study finds that it has little effect on the liver disease.” But, “milk thistle doesn’t appear to be harmful and it’s still not clear if a treatment derived from the plant might have benefits when given through an IV drip.”

“In this study, researchers looked at the effects of milk thistle in treating 154 people with chronic hepatitis C who did not respond to interferon-based treatments,” WebMD reports. “The people were divided into three groups and received either 420 or 700 milligrams of milk thistle or a placebo three times a day for 24 weeks.”

The end “results showed the herbal treatment did not significantly change or improve liver function at either dose, based on measurements of an enzyme that reflects liver function (serum alanine aminotransferase or ALT).”

MedPage Today notes that the milk thistle extract used in the study is called silymarin.

Reuters reports that the study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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