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.
It may also be used to treat children who have liver disease associated with a condition called cystic fibrosis.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
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 this medicine with or without food. Different brands of this medicine may be taken differently. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Ursodeoxycholic acid is available as a tablet, capsule or as an oral suspension.
If you are taking the tablet or capsule, swallow it whole with water or other liquid. Do not chew or crush the tablet or capsule.
If you are taking the 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:
- inflamed gallbladder or biliary tract (ducts that carry the bile from liver to small intestine)
- blocked biliary tract
- frequent episodes of biliary colic (a condition characterised by upper stomach pain)
- gallstones that can be seen on an x-ray or gallstones that contain calcium
- gallbladder that does not work properly
- inflamed bowel disorder
- stomach ulcer
- liver disease
- if used in a child with biliary atresia (a rare disease characterized by blocked bile ducts) and poor bile flow even after surgery
as Ursodeoxycholic acid may not be suitable for you.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests may be done before treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to take.
- Routine liver function test may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- If Ursodeoxycholic acid is being used for the treatment of gallstones, scanning of the gallbladder may be done during the treatment to monitor the progress of the dissolution of your gallstones.
Ursodeoxycholic acid may cause any of the following side effects: headache, dizziness, diarrhoea, loose stools, nausea, vomiting and itchiness.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
- severe pain in the upper right stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, tiredness, swelling in the legs and ankles
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:
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. clofibrate, colestyramine, colestipol, rosuvastatin
- medicines to neutralise stomach acid e.g. aluminium oxide, aluminium hydroxide
- certain antibiotic e.g. ciprofloxacin, dapsone
- ciclosporin (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
- nitrendipine (medicine for high blood pressure)
- medicines containing estrogen e.g. birth control pills
This list does not include all medicines that may interact 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.
Avoid alcohol and foods with high cholesterol or calorie.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.