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Drugs. 1986 May;31(5):430-48.

The effect of drugs on bile flow and composition. An overview.


Many drugs are eliminated via the hepatobiliary route, after biotransformation in the liver. Some of them may affect bile flow and/or the hepatic secretion of biliary lipids such as bile acids, cholesterol and phospholipids. Bile acids are the most potent agents which increase bile flow, especially unconjugated bile acids. Other drugs which increase bile flow include phenobarbitone (phenobarbital), theophylline, glucagon and insulin. In contrast, ethacrynic acid, amiloride, ouabain, oestrogens and chlorpromazine are among those agents which decrease bile flow. Biliary bile acid secretion is altered by a variety of drugs, including cheno- and ursodeoxycholic acids (CDCA and UCDA), the bile acid sequestrants cholestyramine and colestipol, and ethinyloestradiol. The composition of bile can also be altered by drug therapy. Thus, clofibrate increases biliary cholesterol secretion, and reduces bile acid concentrations, without altering biliary phospholipid concentrations. However, other clofibrate derivatives may produce changes of a different pattern, suggesting that the risk of developing gallstones may differ for each derivative. Nicotinic acid and d-thyroxine also increase biliary cholesterol saturation, while CDCA and UDCA reduce biliary cholesterol concentration. The potential consequences of drug-induced changes in bile flow and composition extend to the liver, the gallbladder and the intestine. If adverse effects are to be avoided, further study in this often overlooked area is required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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