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Ursodiol Review

Because of its cholesterol busting properties, Ursodiol is used in the non-surgical removal of non-calcified gallstones caused by cholesterol - particularly in patients unwilling, unable or unsuited for whatever reason (risk) to have gallstones removed surgically.

Secondly, Ursodiol (capsules) are used as part of the treatment regime to inhibit the growth of gallstones in obese patients on accelerated weight reduction programs. Ursodiol (tablets) are also used to treat people with cirrhosis of the liver (primary biliary cirrhosis)

Gall Stones

Gallstones, formed by concentrations of cholesterol or bilirubin, can impede the flow of bile to the intestines. This blockage can lead to infection or cause other complications (jaundice is an example) resulting from the inability of bile to aid in digestion. Ursodiol medication is used to supplement naturally formed acids when they are unable to prevent or dissolve the formation of gallstones caused by cholesterol. It is taken orally as a capsule or tablet and is particularly targeted at gallstones derived from cholesterol.


Bile is produced in peoples’ liver and stored in the gallbladder from when it enters the intestine to aid in digestion. This function can become impaired due to either an obstruction in the ducts (extrahepatic cholestasis) or a problem with bile formation (hepatocellular cholestasis). Thus, cholestasis is not an individual disease in itself but rather a group of symptoms collectively classified as ‘cholestatic liver diseases’. Primary biliary cirrhosis falls into this category.


To dissolve gallstones in adults, the generally recommended prescriptive dose is between 8mg to 10 mg of Ursodiol per kilogram of bodyweight per day taken orally. This translates into taking the medication in either 8 or 12 hourly intervals. 300 mg is the maximum that can be taken each time. To follow-up, patients continue with a maintenance therapy set at 250 mg tablets taken at night, generally for a period between six months to a year.

As a gallstone preventative measure the treatment regime recommended is a 300 mg capsule taken two times a day.
The normal dose for adults suffering with primary biliary cirrhosis is between 13 mg to 15 mg per kilogram of bodyweight per day, administered orally via tablets, spread into three to four individual doses, usually at mealtimes or with at least some food.


Most commonly available as; 300 Mg Capsule is sold under the name Actigall, 250mg tablets are known as Urso-250 and the 500mg tablet is called Urso Forte. The table below shows some example prices (at the time of writing);

Ursodiol, is a kind of bile acid formed in the liver & metabolized by bacteria in the intestines. The body uses these acids to digest or absorb fat. Ursodial received FDA authorization in 1987. Ursodiol works by blocking the cholesterol generating enzyme in liver thereby reducing the concentration of cholesterol in bile. By doing so it also limits the intestines ability to absorb cholesterol, thereby preventing the formation of gallstones formed by cholesterol clusters.

Ursodiol is
not seen as a permanent cure for gallstones. if the underlying factors that caused the problems in the first place are not addressed, gallstones are likely to reappear after some time.



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Ursodiol 300mg Caps

Ursodiol 250mg Tabs

Ursodiol Forte Tabs










































Rite Aid







Branded products are several times more expensive than generic products,  e.g. branded Ursodil 300mg at Walmart is priced at $208.64 for 30 Capsules.

Side Effects

Adverse reactions impacting on the CNS, GI, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal, ENT, Genito-urinary and dermatological systems include - headaches, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia; hypertension; constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting; joints, muscle, chest & back pain; UTI’s; coughs & respiratory problems such as bronchitis; flu like symptoms, rashes, allergies & itches, loss of hair and general debilitation caused by viruses.