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Gut. 1982 May;23(5):382-9.

Retrospective comparison of 'Cheno' and 'Urso' in the medical treatment of gallstones.


In two groups of gallstone patients ideally suited for medical treatment, the effect of six to 18 months' therapy was compared retrospectively in 52 given chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) and 46 given ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). The minimum dose (mg kg-1 day-1) required to desaturate bile consistently was 10.1 for UDCA and 14.3 for CDCA. In patients completing six months' treatment, 23 of 35 (66%) taking a mean of 7.7 (+/- SEM 0.5) mg UDCA and 34 of 42 (81%) taking 14.7 +/- 0.2 mg CDCA showed partial or complete dissolution of gallstones. The mean dose in the UDCA-treated patients, however, was artefactually lowered by previous dose-response studies: in those who had not taken multiple doses, the mean UDCA intake in the 'responders' at six months was 9.1 +/- 0.3 mg kg-1 day-1. At six months, more UDCA (five of 35 or 14.3%) than CDCA (four of 42 or 9.5%)-treated patients showed complete dissolution of gallstones, but, by one year, the situation was reversed, 20 of 41 (49%) CDCA-treated and eight of 30 (27%) UDCA-treated patients showing complete dissolution of gallstones. Cumulative efficacy at one year had risen to 76% for UDCA and 89% for CDCA. Both treatments reduced the frequency of dyspepsia and biliary colic; 37% of CDCA and 2.6% of UDCA-treated patients showed hypertransaminasaemia; diarrhoea developed in 60% of the CDCA group but in none of the UDCA group.

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