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June 19, 1981

Update: chenodeoxycholic acid and gallstones

JAMA. 1981;245(23):2378-2383. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310480004002

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A national cooperative study has confirmed extensive European data that chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA), a metabolic product of bile, can be useful in the treatment of gallstones in many patients. Other agents also are being used for gallstone dissolution.

The $10 million National Cooperative Gallstone Study is financed by the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Md. It provides some guidelines for the selection of patients, but much work remains to be done, said its director, Leslie J. Schoenfeld, MD, at the meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) in New York. The experimental compound, in oral doses of 750 mg/day, resulted in complete or partial dissolution of gallstones in 41% of patients during a two-year period. Side effects were minimal and reversible, and treatment with CDCA did not preclude cholecystectomy in those patients who did not respond to the agent.

Schoenfeld stressed that the cooperative study did