Bile acid dissolution therapy of gallbladder stones

Baillieres Clin Gastroenterol. 1992 Nov;6(4):689-95. doi: 10.1016/0950-3528(92)90047-i.


Oral cholelitholytic bile acid therapy has become established treatment for selected patients with cholesterol gallstones. The treatment finds its clinical application both alone and in combination with ESWL. UDCA alone or, less commonly, a combination of this bile acid with CDCA is used. Optimal results can be expected only in carefully selected patients. Bile acid dissolution therapy is most successful in patients with radiolucent gallstones which are < or = 0.5 cm in diameter or are shown by OCG to be floating. Dissolution is seldom seen when the stones are > 1 cm in size. Cholelitholytic treatment in combination with ESWL yields optimal results in single radiolucent gallstones which are not greater than 2 cm. ESWL thus makes it possible to use medical treatment effectively in single 1-2 cm gallstones when bile acids alone would not be successful. Bile acid treatment is extremely safe, especially if UDCA is given without the addition of CDCA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Cholelithiasis / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lithotripsy*
  • Recurrence
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid