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N Engl J Med. 1975 Aug 21;293(8):378-83.

Chenodeoxycholic acid treatment of gallstones. A follow-up report and analysis of factors influencing response to therapy.


We treated 70 patients with gallstones with chenodeoxycholic acid over 3 1/2 years and analyzed the factors influencing the outcome of therapy. This treatment was unsuccessful in 11 patients with radiopaque gallstones and in seven with nonfunctioning gallbladders, but 64 per cent with radiolucent gallstones treated for six months or more showed partial or complete gallstone dissolution, and of those whose bile became unsaturated with cholesterol, 100 per cent had evidence of dissolution. In patients with partial or complete gallstone dissolution, the mean post-treatment biliary cholesterol saturation index--0.78 +/- 0.04 (S.E.M.)--was significantly less (P less than 0.001), and the dose of chenodeoxycholic acid (14.4 +/- 1.0 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) significantly more (P less than 0.025) than in those whose gallstones did not change (1.15 +/- 0.04 and 10.6 +/- 1.2 respectively). In patients with radiolucent gallstones, the dose of chenodeoxycholic acid should be based on body weight; 14 to 15 mg per kilogram of body weight per day effectively lowers the saturation index and dissolves gallstones.

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