The principle of therapy for chronic inflammatory liver diseases is the removal of causal agents. For autoimmune liver diseases, however, total removal of causal agents and immune cells is impossible. Therefore, autoimmune liver diseases are presently treated by suppression of the immune response. Autoimmune hepatitis is characteristically responsive to corticosteroids, often used in combination with azathioprine to obtain a steroidsparing effect. For primary biliary cirrhosis, ursodeoxycholic acid is safe and is the first choice for treatment. Treatment of this autoimmune liver disease should also address various symptoms and complications arising from any associated autoimmune diseases, particularly cholestasis and cirrhosis-related complications. For primary sclerosing cholangitis there are no established immunomodulatory therapies, but medical, endoscopie, and surgical treatments are applicable to this disease. Liver transplantation becomes indicated during the eventual end stages of each of these immune-mediated liver diseases.
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