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Where is Ursodiol used?

Ursodiol is used to dissolve gallstones in people who cannot have surgery to remove gallstones or who do not want surgery. This is also used in overweight people who are losing weight very quickly to prevent the formation of gallstones.

This medicine is also used to treat primary biliary cirrhosis which is a slowly advanced form of liver inflammation that begins around the bile ducts. Ursodiol is in the class of medications called gallstone dissolution agents. This is available as capsules suitable for oral administration. This is a useful alternative for people who cannot have or cannot avoid surgery. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this medication.

How does Ursodiol work?

Ursodiol is classified as a chemical called bile acid. It naturally happens in bile and can be used to dissolve gallstones. The liver creates bile that is stored in the gall bladder. Bile is unconfined by the gall bladder to assist the digestion of fats. It has cholesterol thawed within bile salts. Gallstones befall in the gall bladder as a result of too little bile salts or excessive cholesterol within the bile. The disproportion causes excessive cholesterol to separate the bile and form stones.  

This drug causes gallstones to dissolve by lessening the production of cholesterol by the liver. It also lessens the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. These actions reduce the total cholesterol that passes into the bile. In addition, since Ursodiol is a bile acid itself, it raises the level of bile acids within the bile.

These two factors prevent the cholesterol from being separated from the bile. The gallstones then start to dissolve.

How is Ursodiol taken?

The recommended dose of this medicine depends on your medical condition and your response to the treatment.

  • For the treatment of gallstone, this medicine is usually taken 2-3 times a day, with or without food.
  • To prevent gallstones, this medicine is usually taken 2 times a day.
  • For the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis, this medicine is usually taken 2 or 4 times a day. Each dose is taken with food.

Try taking having the medicine at the same time each day as it will help you remember to take it. This medication should be continued for 3-4 months after the stone has dissolved. Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without consulting your doctor.

What are the possible side effects of Ursodiol?

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset
  • Dizziness
  • Back pain
  • Cough
  • Increased thirst or urination

What are the precautions in taking Ursodiol?

  • Do not share this medication with others who have the same condition as yours.
  • If you are using oral combined hormonal contraception, seek further advice from your physician. A method of contraception that has less estrogen might be appropriate for you.
  • Before taking a dose of this drug, tell to your doctor if you have any allergies or medical history.
  • Limit your alcoholic beverages while having treatment with this medication.
  • Consult first your doctor if you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman.