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Obes Surg. 1993 Aug;3(3):257-259.

A Double-Blind Placebo-controlled Trial of Ursodeoxycholic Acid in the Prevention of Gallstones during Weight Loss after Vertical Banded Gastroplasty.

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Department of Medicine (Division of Gastroenterology), Dalhousie University and Victoria General Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4H7, Canada.


One hundred and seven patients whose gallbladder was normal at the time of vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) were considered for entry into a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study to determine the effectiveness of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) in preventing cholelithiasis during the period of weight loss. Twenty-one patients (20%) developed gallstones in the six-week period post-VBG and prior to randomization and were therefore excluded. Eighty-six patients were randomized at 6 weeks to active medication or placebo. Of these, 61 patients (71 %) completed the study. Twenty-five patients (29%) failed to complete the study because of incompliance, intolerance to the medication or pregnancy; 17 of these were in the active treatment group and eight were in the placebo group. None of the 27 patients treated with UDCA developed gallstones, whereas eight of 34 (24%) patients taking placebo developed gallstones. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.0061). These results suggest that UDCA is fully effective in preventing gallstone formation following VBG in patients who follow the prescribed regimen.


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