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Milk Thistle's Effectiveness??

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Lavndrrose, Mar 22, 2002.

  1. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member
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    I would appreciate any responses from med students who have knowledge of the effectiveness of milk thistle against Hepatitis B and C. My family member has the chronic stage of Hepatitis and I was wondering if using such herbal remedies of milk thistle might prevent cirrhosis of the liver? Thanks!!
     
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  3. mikeaparker

    mikeaparker Senior Member
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    I am starting med school next year, but I have worked in pharmacy for 8 years... and I have heard of milk thistles ablility to lower elevated liver enzymes (ALT/AST), and that is all!

    Mike
     
  4. Fix-it-Man

    Fix-it-Man Member
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    Hepatitis B is easily preventable today with a vaccine. Hepatitis C as of yet does not have a vaccine. Both are dangerous and can cause hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and/or cirrhosis. I would not take your family member's health codition so lightly by taking herbal medication. There are some conventional medical treatments for these two types of hepatitis. Pegylated Interferon and/or Ribavirin have been approved for their treatment, although it doesn't work for everyone and is not a 100% cure. I wouldn't risk liver cancer with just taking herbs. I would highly advise you to have your family member see a specialist, a hepatologist (a physician trained in Internal Medicine who has a fellowship in the field of liver disease) if possible, if he/she hasn't already done so for advice on treatment. Hep. C is a killer in the longterm don't take it lightly!! Good Luck! :)
     
  5. Doctor Wyldstyle

    Doctor Wyldstyle Senior Member
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    Just wanted to agree with Fix-it-Man. Hepatitis C is deadly. About 80% will develop chronic hepatitis with hepatitis C, so don't risk it. In fact, I've been warned as a volunteer a couple years agot that it was more dangerous than AIDS just because you could take a cocktail of AIDS meds after immediate infection and have a better chance at preventing than hep C.

    If your more curious about this, Pamela Anderson just recently got diagnosed with hepatitis C.
     
  6. Fix-it-Man

    Fix-it-Man Member
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    Just in case you want to ask your doctor here are some of the trade names of the available drugs for fighting Hepatitis B and C: Intron-A (alpha interferon), PEG-Intron (pegylated alpha interferon), Rebetol (ribavirin), and Rebetron (ribavirin and alpha interferon combination). Good Luck!! :cool:
     
  7. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member
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    Thanks everyone for the informative responses. I guess I was looking more for an answer in regards to the effectiveness of milk thistle. By no means am I taking this disease lightly. Believe me, I've done my share of research on the chemotherapies available for Hepatitis B and C. However, due to the extreme toxicity and low success rates (~35%) of these chemotherapies, they are only recommended for patients who already show signs of liver damage. We are told to wait to see if the disease progresses to liver damage.

    You are right Wildstyle---this disease is worse than AIDS. At least people who are HIV positive know they have it and can take medication for it. Whereas with Hepatitis C, the majority of people don't know they have it until they show symptoms, which means the disease has already progressed to liver damage.
     
  8. cyborg565

    cyborg565 New Member

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  9. cyborg565

    cyborg565 New Member

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    Am J Gastroenterol 1998 Feb;93(2):139-43 (ISSN: 0002-9270)
    Flora K; Hahn M; Rosen H; Benner K
    Division of Gastroenterology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201-3098, USA.
    Silymarin, derived from the milk thistle plant, Silybum marianum, has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for diseases of the liver and biliary tract. As interest in alternative therapy has emerged in the United States, gastroenterologists have encountered increasing numbers of patients taking silymarin with little understanding of its purported properties. Silymarin and its active constituent, silybin, have been reported to work as antioxidants scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. Studies also suggest that they protect against genomic injury, increase hepatocyte protein synthesis, decrease the activity of tumor promoters, stabilize mast cells, chelate iron, and slow calcium metabolism. In this article we review silymarin's history, pharmacology, and properties, and the clinical trials pertaining to patients with acute and chronic liver disease.

    - I used milk thistle in a medline search. They have tons of good articles. I wish I was a med student, but I'm a lowly older premed student who wanted to respond to your question. Hope you don't mind.

    Sincerely,
    Renee
     

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