Although the effectiveness of treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and fenofibrate for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) has been suggested by small trials, a systematic review to summarize the evidence has not yet been carried out.
A meta-analysis of all long-term randomized controlled trials comparing the combination of UDCA and fenofibrate with UDCA monotherapy was performed via electronic searches.
Six trials, which included 84 patients, were assessed. Combination therapy with UDCA and fenofibrate was more effective than UDCA monotherapy in improving alkaline phosphatase (mean difference [MD]: −90.44 IU/L; 95% confidence interval [CI]: −119.95 to −60.92; P<0.00001), gamma-glutamyl transferase (MD: −61.58 IU/L; 95% CI: −122.80 to −0.35; P=0.05), immunoglobulin M (MD: −38.45 mg/dL; 95% CI: −64.38 to −12.51; P=0.004), and triglycerides (MD: −0.41 mg/dL; 95% CI: −0.82 to −0.01; P=0.05). However, their effects on pruritus (odds ratio [OR]: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.09–1.78; P=0.23), total bilirubin (MD: −0.05 mg/dL; 95% CI: −0.21 to 0.12; P=0.58), and alanine aminotransferase (MD: −3.31 IU/L; 95% CI: −14.60 to 7.97; P=0.56) did not differ significantly. This meta-analysis revealed no significant differences in the incidence of adverse events (OR: 0.21; 95% CI: 0.03–1.25; P=0.09) between patients treated with combination therapy and those treated with monotherapy.