Milk thistle and indinavir: a randomized controlled pharmacokinetics study and meta-analysis

Document Type


Publication details

Mills, E, Wilson, K, Clarke, M, Foster, B, Walker, S, Rachlis, B, DeGroot, N, Montori, VM, Gold, W, Phillips, E, Myers, SP & Gallicano, K 2005, 'Milk thistle and indinavir: a randomized controlled pharmacokinetics study and meta-analysis', European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 1-7.

The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00228-004-0843-z

Peer Reviewed



Objectives: To determine whether ingestion of milk thistle affects the pharmacokinetics of indinavir. Methods: We conducted a three-period, randomized controlled trial with 16 healthy participants. We randomized participants to milk thistle or control. All participants received initial dosing of indinavir, and baseline indinavir levels were obtained (AUC0-8) (phase I). The active group were then given 450 mg milk-thistle extract capsules to be taken t.i.d. from day 2 to day 30. The control group received no plant extract. On day 29 and day 30, indinavir dosing and sampling was repeated in both groups as before (phase II). After a wash-out period of 7 days, indinavir dosing and sampling were repeated as before (phase III). Results: All participants completed the trial, but two were excluded from analysis due to protocol violation. There were no significant between-group differences. Active group mean AUC0-8 indinavir decreased by 4.4% (90% CI, –27.5% to –26%, P=0.78) from phase I to phase II in the active group, and by 17.3% (90% CI, –37.3% to +9%, P=0.25) in phase III. Control group mean AUC0-8 decreased by 21.5% (90% CI, –43% to +8%, P=0.2) from phase I to phase II and by 38.5% (90% CI, –55.3% to –15.3%, P=0.01) of baseline at phase III. To place our findings in context, milk thistle–indinavir trials were identified through systematic searches of the literature. A meta-analysis of three milk thistle–indinavir trials revealed a non-significant pooled mean difference of 1% in AUC0-8 (95% CI, –53% to 55%, P=0.97). Conclusions: Indinavir levels were not reduced significantly in the presence of milk thistle.

Find in your library