Ursodeoxycholic acid is used to treat certain kinds of liver disease such as primary biliary cirrhosis (a condition in which the bile ducts in the liver become damaged).
This medicine may also be used to help dissolve gallstones (abnormal stone-like mass in the gall bladder) caused by excess cholesterol.
Take Ursodeoxycholic acid exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Food instructions when taking this medicine may vary. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether you should take Ursodeoxycholic acid with or without food. Certain brands of this medicine may be taken differently. Try to take it at the same time each day.
This medicine is available as a tablet, capsule or as an oral suspension.
Ursodeoxycholic acid capsules and tablets should be swallowed whole with some liquid. It should not be crushed or chewed.
If you are taking an oral suspension, shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure out your prescribed dose.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on your condition.
Ursodeoxycholic acid must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- gallbladder which cannot be seen on an x-ray
- gallbladder which cannot contract or work properly
- bile duct or gall bladder that is swollen, painful or blocked
- gallstones that contain calcium
- frequent episodes of biliary colic (a condition characterised by upper stomach pain)
as Ursodeoxycholic acid may not be suitable for you.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine liver function test may be done while you are being treated with this medicine, or as clinically necessary.
- If Ursodeoxycholic acid is being used for the treatment of gallstones, your doctor may need to monitor the progress of the dissolution of your gallstones.
Ursodeoxycholic acid may cause diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
Alert your doctor if you experience pain in your upper right stomach.
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop taking this medicine and inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- ciclosporin (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. clofibrate, colestyramine, colestipol
- medicines to neutralise stomach acid e.g. aluminium oxide, aluminium hydroxide
- medicine for high blood pressure e.g. nitrendipine
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Ursodeoxycholic acid.
Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as this can reduce the effectiveness of Ursodeoxycholic acid. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with this medicine.
If you need to take Ursodeoxycholic acid with cholesterol-lowering medicines or medicines containing aluminium, ask your doctor or pharmacist on how to take these medicines with Ursodeoxycholic acid.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.