Information on Tablets A-Z
Generic name: Ursodiol
Why is this drug prescribed: Actigall is used to help dissolve certain kinds of gallstones. If you suffer from gallstones but do not want to undergo surgery to remove them, or if age, infirmity, or a poor reaction to anesthesia makes you a poor candidate for surgery, Actigall treatment may be a good alternative. Actigall is also used to prevent gallstones in people on rapid-weight-loss diets. And under the brand name Urso 250, its active ingredient is prescribed to treat liver disease caused by hardening and blockage of the bile ducts (primary biliary cirrhosis).
Most important fact about this drug: Actigall is not a quick remedy. It takes months of Actigall therapy to dissolve gallstones; and there is a possibility of incomplete dissolution and recurrence of stones. Your doctor will weigh Actigall against alternative treatments and recommend the best one for you. Actigall is most effective if your gallstones are small or "floatable" (high in cholesterol). In addition, your gallbladder must still be functioning properly.
How should you take this medication: Take Actigall exactly as prescribed; otherwise the gallstones may dissolve too slowly or not dissolve at all. During treatment, your doctor will do periodic ultrasound exams to see if your stones are dissolving. Urso should be taken 4 times a day with food. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember, or at the same time as the next dose. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container.
What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Actigall. Side effects may include: Abdominal pain, allergy, arthritis, back pain, bronchitis, chest pain, constipation, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, gas, hair loss, headache, high blood sugar, indigestion, insomnia, joint pain, menstrual pain, muscle and bone pain, nasal inflammation, nausea, sinus inflammation, skin rash, sore throat, stomach or intestinal disorder, stomach ulcer, upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, viral infection, vomiting
Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take these medications if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to ursodiol or to other bile acids. Actigall will not dissolve certain types of gallstones. If your doctor tells you that your gallstones are calcified cholesterol stones, radio-opaque stones, or radiolucent bile pigment stones, you are not a candidate for treatment with Actigall. Also, if you have biliary tract (liver, gallbladder, bile duct) problems or certain liver and pancreas diseases, your doctor may not be able to prescribe Actigall for you.
Special warnings about this medication: Although Actigall is not known to cause liver damage, it is theoretically possible in some people. Your doctor may run blood tests for liver function before you start to take Actigall and again while you are taking it.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Actigall or Urso are taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Actigall or Urso with the following: Aluminum-based antacid medications (Alu-Cap, Alu-Tab, Rolaids, others) Cholesterol-lowering medications, such as Atromid-S, Lopid, Mevacor, Questran, and Colestid Estrogens such as Premarin Oral contraceptives
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. So far, there is no evidence that ursodiol can harm an unborn baby; but to be safe, the medication is not recommended during pregnancy. Caution is needed during breastfeeding; it is not known whether ursodiol taken by a nursing mother passes into her breast milk.
Recommended dosage: Dissolving Gallstones The recommended daily dosage is 8 to 10 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight, divided into 2 or 3 doses. Preventing Gallstones The usual dose in people losing weight rapidly is 300 milligrams twice a day.
Overdosage: Although there have been no reports of overdose with Actigall, the most likely symptom of severe overdose would be diarrhea. Since any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences, you should seek medical attention immediately if you suspect an Actigall overdose.