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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2012 Jun;13(9):1223-7. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2012.685161.

Limits and perspective of oral therapy with statins and aspirin for the prevention of symptomatic cholesterol gallstone disease.


The prevalence of gallstones disease in Western countries is 10 - 15%. Gallstones can be one of two types - cholesterol or pigment - with cholesterol gallstones representing nearly the 80% of the total. Cholesterol and pigment gallstones have different predisposing factors: cholesterol gallstones are related to supersaturated bile in cholesterol, whereas black pigment gallstones are related to hyperbilirubinbilia factors (hemolysis, etc.); these are necessary, but not sufficient, factors to produce gallstones in vivo. Gall bladder mucosa factors (gall bladder secretion of mucin, local bile stasis and production of endogenous biliary β-glucuronidase) may coexist with the aforementioned factors and facilitate gallstone nucleation and growth. The gold-standard treatment for symptomatic gallstones is laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Several studies have reported a significant reduction in the onset of symptomatic gallstones disease in patients undergoing chronic therapy with statins, which can reduce bile cholesterol saturation. Aspirin, which has been shown to reduce the local production of gall bladder mucins (mucosal or parietal factors of gallstone formation) in animal experimental models, does not appear to reduce the risk of symptomatic gallstones disease when tested alone. The new horizon of oral therapy for the prevention of symptomatic gallstone disease needs to evaluate the long-term effect of statins and chronic aspirin administration in patients with dyslipidemia and/or atherosclerosis.

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