(for veterinary information only)
Numerous herbal brands are available (usually as seed extract)
Veterinary brands include: Marin (which combines silymarin with vitamin E and phosphatidyl choline) and Denamarin (which combines silymarin with SAMe)
HOW THIS MEDICATION IS USED
In human patients with cirrhotic livers, with alcohol-induced hepatitis, and with liver disease from Hepatitis C, silymarin has been shown to improve symptoms, laboratory tests, and survival. Silymarin has not been investigated formally for all liver diseases but it is a very safe substance and should not cause problems if used in a liver situation where its benefit is unproven. In dogs and cats, silymarin has been shown to be helpful in cases of Aminita mushroom toxicity and was protective after carbon tetrachloride administration (both are situations being toxic liver diseases).
Phosphatidyl choline is added to some oral preparations of silymarin as it enhances silymarin absorption into the body from the GI tract.
At doses greater than 1.5 grams per day the increased bile flow side effect may cause diarrhea. Side effects are very rare but the following has been reported for humans: upset stomach, headache, joint pain, weakness.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS
Please keep in mind that herbal medications are not held to the same standards of efficacy and safety that other drugs are. Impurities in processing may include less innocuous plant biochemicals. Using a product from a reputable manufacturer is especially important.
Silymarin combined with cisapride, an intestinal motility enhancer, can lead to heart rhythm disturbances.
CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS
Silymarin is not recommended for humans during pregnancy. It is probably a good idea not to use milk thistle products in pregnant dogs until more information becomes available.
Milk thistle products should be stored at room temperature.
Milk thistle products may be given with or without food, however, SAMe which is often combined with silymarin, is best given on an empty stomach.
Because herbal medications are not held to the same purity and efficacy standards
Page last updated 3/24/2022