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Reuters Health Information (2008-08-22): Silymarin prevents antituberculosis drug-related hepatotoxicity in rats

Drug & Device Development

Silymarin prevents antituberculosis drug-related hepatotoxicity in rats

Last Updated: 2008-08-22 16:25:42 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Silymarin, an extract from milk thistle, protects rats from the hepatotoxic effects of antituberculosis drugs, according to a new report.

Several herbal drugs, including silymarin, have been shown to prevent or reduce the hepatotoxicity of individual antituberculosis drugs without interfering with their therapeutic actions, the authors explain.

Dr. Sude Eminzade from Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey and colleagues investigated the hepatoprotective effects of silymarin in rats treated with two different combinations of antituberculosis drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide). Treatment with combinations of these drugs caused a two-fold increase in serum ALT levels and a 75% increase in AST and ALP levels, the authors report.

These combinations also caused significant decreases in serum albumin and total protein concentrations and a two-fold increase in total bilirubin levels.

Simultaneous intra-gastric administration of silymarin with the antituberculosis drug combinations significantly decreased serum enzyme activities, increased the serum albumin and total protein concentrations, and decreased serum total bilirubin levels compared with the rats that received drugs only, the researchers note.

Silymarin administration was associated with a decreased frequency and severity of both steatosis and patchy necrosis, compared with the antituberculosis drug-only groups, the investigators report in the July issue of Nutrition & Metabolism.

"This study showed that silymarin has a significant protective action against the hepatotoxicity induced by the drugs used in the treatment of tuberculosis," the authors conclude. "High-quality, placebo-controlled randomized trials need to be conducted before silymarin or its constituents can be advocated as a medicine for use in humans."

Nutr Metab 2008;5:18.

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