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Ursodeoxycholic acid

Last updated on 25/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Ursodeoxycholic acid

ALTERNATIVE NAME: Ursodiol

CHINESE NAME: 熊去氧膽酸

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Ursobil, Ursonic, Ursofalk

DRUG CLASS: Gastrointestinal drugs

SUB CLASS: Naturally Occuring Bile Acids

USED FOR: Prevention and treatment of gallstones, Cirrhosis

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 50mg, 250mg, 300mg, 500mg (tablets)
– 50mg, 250mg (capsules)

What is Ursodeoxycholic acid for?

It is a naturally occurring bile acid which decreases cholesterol production in the liver and breaks it down, stopping gallstone formation and dissolving existing gallstone. For primary biliary cirrhosis patients, it stimulates bile flow in the damaged bile duct.

How to use it?

Ursodeoxycholic acid is available as tablets and capsules for oral use. It should not be taken with aluminium-based antacids or bile acid sequestrants. If necessary, administer aluminium-based antacid 2 hours after Ursodeoxycholic acid. Do not chew the tablets. The tablets should be taken with food.

Gallstone dissolution
Adult and elderly
Capsule: 8-10mg/kg daily in 2-3 divided doses.

Gallstone prevention
Adult and elderly
Capsule: 600 mg daily in 1-2 divided doses.

Primary biliary cirrhosis
Adult and elderly
Tablet: 13-15mg/kg daily in 2-4 divided doses. One of the doses should be taken at bedtime.

What are the side effects of Ursodeoxycholic acid?

Common side effects of Urosdeoxycholic acid include diarrhea and pale faeces. Rarely do patients get upper abdominal pain, skin reactions, cirrhosis exacerbation and calcification of gallstone.

Who should not take Ursodeoxycholic acid?

– Patients with inflammation gallbladder, or in the liver and intestines that disturbs bile flow
– Gallbladder failure patients
– Radio-opaque stones patients
– Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Pharmacist Tips:

– Do not take with aluminium-based antacids or bile acid sequestrants. If necessary, administer aluminium-based antacid 2 hours after Ursodeoxycholic acid.
– Do not chew the tablets.

Common dosing schedule:
Ursodeoxycholic acid should be taken 1-4 times daily. When taking tablets, it is more preferable to take one of the doses at bedtime. Also the tablets should be taken with food.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Ursodeoxycholic acid may interact with:
– Antacids, e.g. Aluminium hydroxide, Magnesium hydroxide
– Bile acid sequestrants, e.g. Cholestyramine, Colestipol, Colesevelam
– Oestrogen derivatives, e.g. Oestradiol, Ethinyloestradiol
– Fibric acid derivatives, e.g. Fenofibrate, Gemfibrozil
– Nitrendipine
– Sincalide

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Ursodeoxycholic acid in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Ursodeoxycholic acid is an over-the-counter medicine and can be purchased without a prescription from any retail outlet in Hong Kong. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, medicine shops, and pharmacies. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Ursodeoxycholic acid in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.