Ursodeoxycholic acid (INN, BAN and AAN), also known as Ursodiol (USAN) and the abbreviation UDCA, is one of the secondary bile acids, which are metabolic byproducts of intestinal bacteria. Basically, it decreases the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and absorbed by the intestines. Ursodiol is marketed under multiple trade names: Actigall, BILIVER, Coric, Deursil, Egyurso, Udiliv, UDOXYL, Urso, Urso Forte, Ursocol, Ursofalk, and Ursosan.
Uses of Ursodiol
- the only FDA approved drug to treat primary biliary cirrhosis, a certain type of liver disease
- helps regulate cholesterol
- dissolves gallstones, best for those not wanting surgery (not for treating gallstones that are calcified)
- for people losing weight very quickly, it can prevent gallstones
- relieves itching in pregnancy (for some women who suffer obstetric cholestasis)
- inhibits apoptosis (a genetically regulated form of cell death, many existing treatments such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and anticancer treatments act through it)
Gallstone treatment might take several months and some might not dissolve completely. There’s a big possibility of recurring gallstones within 5 years after treatment if the cause of your gallstone isn’t stopped.
Possible Side Effects
Despite these benefits, there are side effects when taking Ursodiol: dizziness, muscle and joint pain, back pain, vomiting, upset stomach, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, sore throat, cough, runny nose, hair loss. In worse cases, it can cause frequent urination or pain when you urinate and it can cause cough with fever. If either happens, call your doctor immediately. The risk to these side effects will increase if you take Ursodiol more than the prescribed amount or frequency and doing this won’t increase or fasten its effectivity.
It is a prescription medicine. It comes as a capsule or a film-coated tablet and is taken orally. It’s not licensed for use by children. Talk to your doctor carefully before proceeding to take this medicine. The doctor should know if you are allergic to any drugs, if you have a liver disease or certain gallbladder/bile duct problems or if you’re breast-feeding a baby.
How Ursodiol Works
It works by reducing cholesterol absorption in the intestines and at the same time breaking up micelles containing cholesterol.
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