How does Ursolin work?
Ursodeoxycholic acid is a chemical called a bile acid. It occurs naturally in bile and can be used to dissolve gallstones.
The liver produces bile which is stored in the gall bladder. Bile is released by the gall bladder to aid the digestion of fats. It consists of cholesterol dissolved within bile salts. Gallstones occur in the gall bladder as a result of too much cholesterol, or too few bile salts within the bile. The imbalance causes excess cholesterol to separate out of the bile and form stones.
Ursodeoxycholic acid causes gallstones to dissolve by a mechanism that is not fully understood. It is known to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver and also to reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. Both of these actions decrease the amount of cholesterol that passes into the bile. Also, since ursodeoxycholic acid is a bile acid itself, it increases the level of bile acids within the bile.
The combination of these two factors reverses the imbalance and stops the cholesterol separating out of the bile. The gallstones then begin to dissolve. This is a useful alternative for people who cannot have, or wish to avoid surgery. Treatment is continued for up to two years, depending on the size of the stone.
What is Ursolin used for?
• Dissolving certain types of gall stones (radiolucent gall stones)
• This medicine is not recommended for use in children.
Not to be used in
• Chronic liver disease
• Gall stones with high calcium content (radio-opaque gall stones)
• Inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
• Non-emptying gall bladder
• Peptic ulcer
• Women who may become pregnant
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
• This medicine should not be used during pregnancy. A non-hormonal method of contraception should be used. Stop treatment immediately and seek medical advice if pregnancy occurs.
• This medicine should not be used by breastfeeding mothers. Discuss this with your doctor.
• Take this medication with or after food.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
• Itching (pruritus)
• Nausea and vomiting
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug’s manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
Ursodeoxycholic acid should not be used with medicines that may prevent its absorption from the gut. These include antacids, charcoal, colestipol and cholestyramine.
This medicine should not be used with medicines that increase bile cholesterol. These include oestrogenic hormones and oral contraceptives.
Read more about Ursodeoxycholic acid