Ursodiol - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Ursodiol: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Ursodiol?

Ursodiol, sold under the brand names Actigall, Urso, Urso Forte, Urso DS, and Reltone, is a bile acid drug that belongs to a class of drugs known for their gallstone solubilizing activities. Ursodiol is sold as capsules and tablets, in strengths 250 mg, 300 mg, and 500 mg. The dosage recommended is based on the medical condition and response to therapy. Ursodiol is generally well tolerated by patients and is available only on prescription.

What Are The Uses of Ursodiol?

Ursodiol is a naturally-occurring bile acid used to prevent diseases of the liver or bile ducts. Ursodiol is used to dissolve cholesterol gallstones in patients who cannot have their gallstones removed surgically. Ursodiol is also used to prevent the formation of gallstones in patients who are on rapid weight-loss regimens. One of the prominent uses of Ursodiol is in the treatment of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.

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What Are The Side Effects of Ursodiol?

Ursodiol is generally well-received by patients. Uncommon side effects do, however, include nausea, fatigue, depression, even weight gain. Even less common side effects are hypersensitivity reactions. In rare instances, Ursodiol has been found to elevate serum enzymes that may worsen liver disease or cause recurrence of jaundice. Owing to this, patients with advanced liver disease are not advised to take Ursodiol. For a better understanding of side effects and precautions, consult our team of medical experts.


Frequently Asked Questions about Ursodiol

1. How does ursodiol work for PBC (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis)?

The exact mechanism of Ursodiol in PBC is not precise. It is understood that Ursodiol works by blocking the liver enzyme that produces cholesterol. This ensures a decrease in the amount of cholesterol in the liver. It also reduces cholesterol absorption in the intestine. By effectively decreasing the cholesterol amount, Ursodiol prevents the formation of gallstones and dissolves the existing ones.

2. Does Ursodiol Cause Weight Loss?

Ursodiol is recommended to patients who are already on weight loss programs to prevent the formation of gallstones or in diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Ursodiol by itself does not have any weight loss properties. Instead, patients have complained of weight gain in Ursodiol regimens of other illnesses.

3. What is ursodiol used for in dogs?

Ursodiol is a naturally-occurring bile acid and is prescribed to animals for the treatment of liver diseases. It increases the flow of bile acids. While the FDA does not approve it for veterinary use, Ursodiol is prescribed for gallbladder problems and other biliary liver diseases in dogs and cats.

4. Does ursodiol work for gallstones?

Ursodiol works to dissolve gallstones in people who do not want surgery or cannot have surgery. It works by reducing the production of cholesterol, which causes gallstones and dissolves existing gallstones. It also prevents the formation of gallstones in patients at risk for them, such as obese patients on rapid weight loss regimens.

5. How does ursodiol help the liver?

Ursodiol is a naturally-occurring bile acid that is produced by intestinal bacteria. Ursodiol helps to break down cholesterol, which causes gallstones and obstructs the flow of bile, which is secreted by the liver. In patients with liver diseases, it helps by improving bile flow and improving biochemical functions.

6. Can ursodiol cause high blood pressure?

Ursodiol has no impact on cardiovascular function and does not cause high blood pressure. There are also no reported effects on cardiac outputs, heart rate, or pumping volumes. It may, however, show symptoms of high blood sugar and decreased water retention.

7. Is ursodiol bad for the liver?

Ursodiol is highly recommended for improving liver function in patients with chronic liver diseases. It clears the blockages of bile ducts and prevents the formation of gallstones while dissolving the ones that already exist. In specific conditions, it has shown significant improvement in the biochemical functions of the liver.

8. How long should you take ursodiol?

The regimen of Ursodiol will be prescribed by your physician exactly. It depends on your response to the Ursodiol therapy as well as the severity of your medical condition. Do not increase the frequency of your dose or increase the amount without consulting an expert. It will not improve your situation and might accelerate the side effects caused.

9. Is there an alternative to ursodiol?

For patients with PBC, alternatives to Ursodiol include Azathioprine and Methotrexate. These are only prescribed if the patient does not respond to Ursodiol therapy. Ursodiol is usually preferred due to its tolerability in patients and the establishment of its safety and efficacy across clinical trials.

10. Can ursodiol cause hair loss?

Ursodiol has a range of side effects, and hair loss is one of them. Although a rare instance in comparison, hair loss has been observed in patients on Ursodiol regimens. The exact mechanism of this phenomenon is unclear.

For a detailed understanding of the side effects, precautions, and uses of Ursodiol, please consult our team of experts today!

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  2. Weight reduction and ursodeoxycholic acid in subjects with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial – PubMed (no date). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15505596/ 
  3. Actigall, Urso Forte (ursodiol) dosing, indications, interactions, adverse effects, and more (no date). Available at: https://reference.medscape.com/drug/actigall-urso-forte-ursodiol-342072 
  4. ursodiol, Actigall, Urso Forte, Urso 250: Drug Facts, Side Effects and Dosing (no date). Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/ursodiol/article.htm
  5. Urso (Ursodiol): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warning (no date). Available at: https://www.rxlist.com/urso-drug.htm 
  6. Ursodiol (Oral Route) Side Effects – Mayo Clinic (no date). Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/ursodiol-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20066618?p=1
  7. ursodiol (Ursodeoxycholic Acid) – LiverTox – NCBI Bookshelf (no date). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548309/
  8. Ursodiol: MedlinePlus Drug Information (no date). Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699047.html
  9. Ursodiol Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD (no date). Available at: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6665/ursodiol-oral/details
  10. Ursodiol Uses, Side Effects & Warnings – Drugs.com (no date). Available at: https://www.drugs.com/mtm/ursodiol.html

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