Outcomes of dissolution therapy and monitoring for stone disease: should we do better?

Curr Opin Urol. 2021 Mar 1;31(2):102-108. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0000000000000844.


Purpose of review: Surgical management is the cornerstone of urolithiasis treatment, but high recurrence rates and associated complications necessitate the existence of medical treatment options, aiming at dissolution of kidney stones and prevention of recurrence. The purpose of this review is to present the most recent knowledge existing in scientific literature, regarding dissolution therapy and ways of monitoring nephrolithiasis patients.

Recent findings: A number of laboratory studies have been performed testing experimental treatments (tolvaptan, chlorthalidone, atorvastatin, a-lipoic acid, glucosaminoglycans, plant extracts), to reduce kidney stone formation and cellular damage and showed encouraging results. Uric acid stones is the main target of dissolution therapy, but until last years, existing level of evidence was low. A number of prospective and randomized studies, proved the efficacy and safety of oral chemolysis for radiolucent stones and associated prognostic features of success. Tolvaptan and a-Lipoic acid were also tested in patients with cystinuria and resulted in reduction of recurrence. Finally, some new diagnostic markers are suggested as tests for the monitoring of urolithiasis patients, with satisfying accuracy and discriminative ability.

Summary: Medical dissolution therapy for nephrolithiasis is an effective option, especially for patients with radiolucent/uric acid stones. In the future, we need clinical trials to confirm the encouraging results of pilot studies testing several agents for patients with cystinuria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystinuria*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi* / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Solubility
  • Urolithiasis* / diagnosis
  • Urolithiasis* / drug therapy