Ursodeoxycholic Acid/Ursodiol is a hepatoprotective medication. It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol in the blood and helps dissolve gallbladder stones that are composed mainly of cholesterol. It also improves liver enzymes, protects liver cells from injury caused due to toxic bile acids, and improves liver function.
The suitable timing of taking this medicine might differ depending upon your condition. Your doctor might instruct you to take 2 to 3 doses per day and suggest to take the last dose at bedtime. Bilefix should be taken with water milk and can be taken with food or after food. When prescribed for dissolving gallstones, it is usually suggested to be taken once daily at night. Ideally, it should be taken at a gap of 6 hours, for example at 8 am, 2 pm and 8 pm.
Q. Is Bilefix safe?
Bilefix is usually considered to be a safe and effective medicine. However, this medicine may have some common side effects, such as diarrhea. If diarrhea occurs, your doctor may reduce the dose and if it persists, your treatment may be discontinued. Additionally, using this medicine as a long term therapy may also affect your liver enzyme levels. To keep a check on this, your doctor will keep monitoring your liver enzyme levels regularly. Despite these minor side effects, this medicine is supposed to be a good alternative to surgery in some patients with gallstones.
Q. How does Bilefix help the liver?
Bilefix acts on the liver and gets concentrated in the bile secreted from the liver. This, as a result, suppresses the synthesis and secretion of cholesterol by the liver, thereby decreasing the cholesterol levels in bile. This medicine also acts by stopping the intestines from absorbing the bile salts and cholesterol. So, the reduced cholesterol saturation in the bile from the liver leads to gradual dissolving of cholesterol from gallstones, leading to a decrease in size and their eventual dissolution. It also reduces elevated liver enzyme levels by increasing the bile flow through the liver, hence protecting the liver cells.
Q. Does Bilefix cause weight gain?
Yes, there is a chance of weight gain with Bilefix, but it is not common. The use of Bilefix can cause weight gain when prescribed in patients with liver disease associated with chronic stasis of bile in small bile ducts of the liver. In such condition bile cannot flow from the liver to the small intestine. Again, the chance of weight gain varies from person to person depending upon the disease, so consult your doctor if you experience weight gain.
Q. What should I avoid while taking Bilefix?
While taking Bilefix, avoid taking an antacid preparation without consulting your doctor, as they decrease the effectiveness of Bilefix. You should also avoid medicines like cholestyramine or colestipol as they affect the effectiveness of Bilefix. So, ask your doctor about the time gap that should be maintained between Bilefix and these medicines. Also, avoid taking oral contraceptives, estrogenic hormones and blood cholesterol-lowering agents such as clofibrate as they may increase the chances of developing gallstones and act opposite to the Bilefix.
Information last updated by Dr. Varun Gupta, MD Pharmacology on 22nd Jan 2020. The medicine details are for information purpose only. Consult a doctor before taking any medicine.