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May 2016

By Life Extension

Milk thistle

Intravenous silibinin monotherapy shows significant antiviral activity in HCV-infected patients in the peri-transplantation period.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation (LT) is the main problem of most transplant programs. We aimed at assessing the antiviral activity and safety of intravenous silibinin (SIL) administered daily during the peri-transplant period. METHODS: This was a single-centre, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study including 14 HCV-infected patients awaiting LT. Eleven patients received SIL and 3 placebo, for a maximum of 21 days before LT and 7 days after LT. RESULTS: Among the patients who received more than 14 days of pre-LT treatment, the median decrease in viral load (VL) was 2.31 log(10) (range 0.6-4.2) in the SIL-treated group (n=9) versus 0.30 log(10) (0.1-0.6) in the placebo group (n=3) (p=0.016). During the post-LT treatment, HCV-RNA levels were consistently and significantly (p=0.002) lower in the SIL group compared to placebo and decreased below the limit of quantification in 2 patients and below the limit of detection in 2 additional patients (all in the SIL-treated group). Peri-transplant treatment with SIL was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: This proof-of-concept study in patients in the waiting list for LT indicates that daily intravenous silibinin has evident antiviral properties and is well tolerated in the peri-LT period. A longer treatment regimen with silibinin (alone or in combination with other agents) should be assessed in clinical trials for the prevention of hepatitis C recurrence.

J Hepatol. 2013 Mar;58(3):415-20

Antiviral activity and safety profile of silibinin in HCV patients with advanced fibrosis after liver transplantation: a

Response to interferon-based therapies in HCV recurrence after liver transplantation (LT) is unsatisfactory, and major safety issues aroused in preliminary experience with boceprevir and telaprevir. As transplant community identified HCV viral clearance as a critical matter, efficacious and safe anti-HCV therapies are awaited. The aim of this study was to assess efficacy and safety of intravenous silibinin monotherapy in patients with established HCV recurrence after LT, nonresponders to pegylated interferon and ribavirin. This is a single center, prospective, randomized, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial including 20 patients randomly assigned (3:1) to receive daily 20 mg/kg of intravenous silibinin or saline as placebo, for 14 consecutive days. On day 14 of treatment, viral load decreased by 2.30 ± 1.32 in silibinin group versus no change in the placebo group (P = 0.0002). Sixteen days after the end of the treatment, viral load mean values were similar to baseline. Treatment resulted well tolerated apart from a transient and reversible increase in bilirubin. Neither changes in immunosuppressant through levels nor dosage adjustments were necessary. Silibinin monotherapy has a significant antiviral activity in patients with established HCV recurrence on the graft not responding to standard therapy and confirms safety and tolerability without interaction with immunosuppressive drugs.

Transpl Int. 2014 Jul;27(7):696-704

Efficacy of lead-in silibinin and subsequent triple therapy in difficult-to-treat HIV/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients.

OBJECTIVES: The efficacy of current hepatitis C virus (HCV) triple therapy, including a protease inhibitor, is limited in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with advanced liver fibrosis and nonresponse to previous peginterferon-ribavirin. These patients have a low chance (only 30%) of achieving a sustained virological response (SVR) during triple therapy and cannot wait for next-generation anti-HCV drugs. In a pilot study, we investigated the efficacy of a lead-in therapy with silibinin before triple therapy in difficult-to-treat patients. METHODS: Inclusion criteria were HIV/HCV coinfection with advanced liver fibrosis and documented failure of previous peginterferon-ribavirin treatment. Intervention was lead-in therapy with intravenous silibinin 20 mg/kg/day for 14 days. Subsequently, peginterferon-ribavirin combined with telaprevir was initiated for 12 weeks, followed by peginterferon-ribavirin dual therapy until week 48 after initiation of triple therapy. The outcome measurements were HCV RNA after silibinin lead-in, at weeks 2, 4 and 12 of triple therapy, and SVR at week 24 after the end of treatment. RESULTS: We examined six HIV/HCV-coinfected patients (four infected with genotype 1a). All had fibrosis grade METAVIR ≥F3 and were on fully suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Mean HCV RNA decline after silibinin therapy was 2.6 log10 IU/mL (range 2-3 log10 IU/mL). Five of the six patients were virologically suppressed at weeks 2 and 4, and all six at week 12 of triple therapy. One experienced a viral breakthrough thereafter. Four of five patients (80%) showed an SVR 24. One patient had an SVR 12 but has not yet reached week 24. CONCLUSIONS: A lead-in with silibinin before triple therapy is highly effective and increases the probability of HCV treatment success in difficult-to-treat HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with advanced liver fibrosis and previous failure of peginterferon-ribavirin.

HIV Med. 2014 Nov;15(10):625-30

Silibinin is a potent antiviral agent in patients with chronic hepatitis C not responding to pegylated interferon/ribavirin therapy.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Oral Silibinin (SIL) is widely used for treatment of hepatitis C, but its efficacy is unclear. Substantially higher doses can be administered intravenously (IV). METHODS: Pedigreed nonresponders to full-dose pegylated (Peg)-interferon/ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV) were studied. First, 16 patients received 10 mg/kg/day SIL IV (Legalon Sil; Madaus, Köln, Germany) for 7 days. In a subsequent dose-finding study, 20 patients received 5, 10, 15, or 20 mg/kg/day SIL for 14 days. In both protocols, PegIFN alpha-2a/RBV were started on day 8. Viral load was determined daily. RESULTS: Unexpectedly, in the first study, HCV-RNA declined on IV SIL by 1.32 +/- 0.55 log (mean +/- SD), P < .001 but increased again in spite of PegIFN/RBV after the infusion period. The viral load decrease was dose dependent (log drop after 7 days SIL: 0.55 +/- 0.5 [5 mg/kg, n = 3], 1.41 +/- 0.59 [10 mg/kg, n = 19], 2.11 +/- 1.34 [15 mg/kg, n = 5], and 3.02 +/- 1.01 [20 mg/kg, n = 9]; P < .001), decreased further after 7 days combined SIL/PegIFN/RBV (1.63 +/- 0.78 [5 mg/kg, n = 3], 4.16 +/- 1.28 [10 mg/kg, n = 3], 3.69 +/- 1.29 [15 mg/kg, n = 5], and 4.85 +/- 0.89 [20 mg/kg, n = 9]; P < .001), and became undetectable in 7 patients on 15 or 20 mg/kg SIL, at week 12. Beside mild gastrointestinal symptoms, IV SIL monotherapy was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: IV SIL is well tolerated and shows a substantial antiviral effect against HCV in nonresponders.

Gastroenterology. 2008 Nov;135(5):1561-7

Rescue therapy with intravenous silibinin in liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV hepatitis - two case reports.

BACKGROUND: Recurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after liver transplantation is inevitable and decreases survival. Graft loss due to recurrent HCV occurs in 25% to 30% of patients. The recommended AASLD treatment is PEG-IFN, with or without ribavirin, but some patients might be not eligible for this treatment. An alternative antiviral agent is silibinin (SIL). In vitro silibinin stops replication, probably by inhibiting HCV RNA polymerase. CASE REPORT: We present the cases of 2 patients with severe recurrent HCV infection who received intravenous silibinin (IV SIL) as a "rescue therapy". In the first patient with cholestatic fibrosing hepatitis, HCV RNA became undetectable. We also noted significant viremia reduction, and improvement in laboratory results and clinical presentation in the second patient. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of IV SIL resulted in a rapid decrease of HCV viremia. In post-transplant patients with HCV recurrence who are not eligible for standard antiviral treatment, IV SIL can be considered as an alternative, but further investigations are necessary to establish treatment protocols.

Ann Transplant . 2014 Apr 8;19:161-4

Sustained virological response with intravenous silibinin: individualized IFN-free therapy via real-time modelling of HCV kinetics.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Intravenous silibinin (SIL) is a potent antiviral agent against hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype-1. In this proof of concept case-study we tested: (i) whether interferon-alfa (IFN)-free treatment with SIL plus ribavirin (RBV) can achieve sustained virological response (SVR); (ii) whether SIL is safe and feasible for prolonged duration of treatment and (iii) whether mathematical modelling of early on-treatment HCV kinetics can guide duration of therapy to achieve SVR. METHODS: A 44 year-old female HCV-(genotype-1)-infected patient who developed severe psychiatric adverse events to a previous course of pegIFN+RBV, initiated combination treatment with 1200 mg/day of SIL, 1200 mg/day of RBV and 6000 u/day vitamin D. Blood samples were collected frequently till week 4, thereafter every 1-12 weeks until the end of therapy. The standard biphasic mathematical model with time-varying SIL effectiveness was used to predict the duration of therapy to achieve SVR. RESULTS: Based on modelling the observed viral kinetics during the first 3 weeks of treatment, SVR was predicted to be achieved within 34 weeks of therapy. Provided with this information, the patient agreed to complete 34 weeks of treatment. IFN-free treatment with SIL+RBV was feasible, safe and achieved SVR (week-33). CONCLUSIONS: We report, for the first time, the use of real-time mathematical modelling of HCV kinetics to individualize duration of IFN-free therapy and to empower a patient to participate in shared decision making regarding length of treatment. SIL-based individualized therapy provides a treatment option for patients who do not respond to or cannot receive other HCV agents and should be further validated.

Liver Int. 2015 Feb;35(2):289-94