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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? No
  • Drug class: Anticholethitic


    Dissolves cholesterol gallstones in selected patients who either can't tolerate surgery or don't require surgery for other reasons. Not used when surgery is clearly indicated.

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Capsules--Swallow with liquid or food to lessen stomach irritation. If you can't swallow whole, open capsule and take with liquid or food.

When to take:
With meals, 2 or 3 times a day according to your doctor's instructions.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled time. Don't double this dose.

What drug does:
Decreases secretion of cholesterol into bile by suppressing production and secretion of cholesterol by the liver. Ursodiol will not help gallstone problems unless the gallstones are made of cholesterol. It works best when the stones are small.

Time lapse before drug works:
Unpredictable. Varies among patients.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Severe diarrhea.


    Overdose not expected to threaten life. If person takes much larger amount than prescribed, call doctor, poison-control center or hospital emergency room for instructions.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    None expected.


    None expected.


    None expected.



Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:
You can't tolerate other bile acids.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you have complications of gallstones, such as infection or obstruction of the bile ducts.
  • If you have had pancreatitis.
  • If you have had chronically impaired liver function.
  • If you take any other medicines for any reason.

Over age 60:
No special problems expected.

Studies have not been performed to determine effects on unborn child. Decide with your doctor whether drug benefits justify risk to unborn child.

Unknown, but no documented problems. Consult doctor.

Infants & children:
Not recommended. Adequate studies have not been performed.

Prolonged use:

  • No special problems expected.
  • Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check kidney function.

Skin & sunlight:
No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes, such as antihistamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, pain medicine, narcotics and mind-altering drugs.

Don't discontinue without consulting doctor.

Plan regular visits to your doctor while you take ursodiol. Have ultrasound and liver function studies done at appropriate intervals. Liver damage is unlikely, but theoretically could happen.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Antacids* Decreased absorption of ursodiol.
Cholestyramine Decreased absorption of ursodiol.
Clofibrate Decreased effect of ursodiol.
Colestipol Decreased absorption of ursodiol.
Estrogens* Decreased effect of ursodiol.
Progestins Decreased effect of ursodiol.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: None expected, unless you have
impaired liver function from
alcohol abuse.
Beverages: None expected.
Cocaine: None expected.
Foods: None expected.
Marijuana: None expected.
Tobacco: None reported. However, tobacco may
possibly impair intestinal
absorption from the intestinal
tract. Better to avoid.

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