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Int J Mycobacteriol. 2019 Jan-Mar;8(1):89-92. doi: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_159_18.

Ursodeoxycholic acid attenuates hepatotoxicity of multidrug treatment of mycobacterial infections: A prospective pilot study.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, II Medizinische Klinik, SRH Wald-Klinikum Gera, Gera, Germany.
Outpatient Department, SRH Policlinic, Gera, Germany.



Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global health problem. The application of rifampicin-based regimens for antimycobacterial therapy is hampered by its marked hepatotoxicity which results in poor adherence and may contribute to prolonged therapy or treatment failure. The purpose of this prospective investigation was to evaluate the hepatoprotective effectiveness of oral ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) (250-500 mg TID) administered to TB- or non-TB mycobacterial (NTM)-infected patients with drug-induced hepatotoxicity and ongoing therapy.


Study population: During 2009-2017, 27 patients (11 women, 16 men, aged 19-90 years; median age 44 years, 16 Caucasians, 10 Africans, 1 Asian) out of 285 patients with active TB (24/261) or NTM infections (3/24) treated at our TB Center developed clinically relevant hepatotoxicity. Oral UDCA was administered to treat hepatotoxicity.


Twenty-one out of 27 patients (77.8%) showed normalization of elevated enzymes (alanine transferase and aspartate aminotransferase), alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin while continuing TB treatment and 5 patients demonstrated a significant reduction of liver enzymes (18.5%). No change was observed in 1 patient (3.7%). Drug dose was not reduced in all patients; they all showed radiological and clinical improvement. There were no significant side effects.


Oral administration of UDCA to TB patients developing anti-TB drug-induced liver injury may reverse hepatotoxicity in adults.


Drug-induced liver injury; tuberculosis; ursodeoxycholic acid

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