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Ursodiol Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Ursodiol
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Upset stomach, indigestion, or vomiting
- Cough or sore throat
- Runny nose
- Back pain
- Muscle or joint pain
- Hair loss
- Dry skin or skin rash
- Metallic taste in mouth
Serious Side Effects of Ursodiol
Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Cough with fever
- Painful or frequent urination
- Signs of an allergic reaction (may include hives, rash, itching, chest tightness, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat)
Ursodiol comes as a tablet or capsule to take by mouth. It's typically taken two to three times a day.
Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully. Don't take more or less ursodiol than is recommended.
Severe diarrhea may be a symptom of an ursodiol overdose.
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
You can get in touch with a poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Missed Dose of Ursodiol
If you miss a dose of ursodiol, take it as soon as your remember.
But if it's almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular medication schedule.
Don't take extra ursodiol to make up for a missed dose.
Actigall (ursodiol) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
signs of a new infection--sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, skin sores, trouble swallowing.
Common side effects may include:
mild stomach pain or discomfort;
nausea, diarrhea, constipation;
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
hair loss; or
mild itching or rash.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Precautions While Using Actigall
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. Blood tests will have to be done every few months while you are taking this medicine to make sure that the gallstones are dissolving and your liver is working properly.
Check with your doctor immediately if severe abdominal or stomach pain, especially toward the upper right side, or severe nausea and vomiting occur. These symptoms may mean that you have other medical problems or that your gallstone condition needs your doctor's attention.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) like blood in the urine, burning or pain when passing urine, feeling the need to pass urine often or right away, fever, lower stomach pain, or pelvic pain.
What are some other side effects of Actigall?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Back pain.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Belly pain or heartburn.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Signs of a common cold.
- Hair loss.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Actigall or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Actigall. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
Review Date: October 4, 2017
Actigall - Clinical Pharmacology
About 90% of a therapeutic dose of Actigall is absorbed in the small bowel after oral administration. After absorption, ursodiol enters the portal vein and undergoes efficient extraction from portal blood by the liver (i.e., there is a large “first-pass” effect) where it is conjugated with either glycine or taurine and is then secreted into the hepatic bile ducts. Ursodiol in bile is concentrated in the gallbladder and expelled into the duodenum in gallbladder bile via the cystic and common ducts by gallbladder contractions provoked by physiologic responses to eating. Only small quantities of ursodiol appear in the systemic circulation and very small amounts are excreted into urine. The sites of the drug’s therapeutic actions are in the liver, bile, and gut lumen.
Beyond conjugation, ursodiol is not altered or catabolized appreciably by the liver or intestinal mucosa. A small proportion of orally administered drug undergoes bacterial degradation with each cycle of enterohepatic circulation. Ursodiol can be both oxidized and reduced at the 7-carbon, yielding either 7-keto-lithocholic acid or lithocholic acid, respectively. Further, there is some bacterially catalyzed deconjugation of glyco- and tauro-ursodeoxycholic acid in the small bowel. Free ursodiol, 7-keto-lithocholic acid, and lithocholic acid are relatively insoluble in aqueous media and larger proportions of these compounds are lost from the distal gut into the feces. Reabsorbed free ursodiol is reconjugated by the liver. Eighty percent of lithocholic acid formed in the small bowel is excreted in the feces, but the 20% that is absorbed is sulfated at the 3-hydroxyl group in the liver to relatively insoluble lithocholyl conjugates which are excreted into bile and lost in feces. Absorbed 7-keto-lithocholic acid is stereospecifically reduced in the liver to chenodiol.
Lithocholic acid causes cholestatic liver injury and can cause death from liver failure in certain species unable to form sulfate conjugates. Lithocholic acid is formed by 7-dehydroxylation of the dihydroxy bile acids (ursodiol and chenodiol) in the gut lumen. The 7-dehydroxylation reaction appears to be alpha-specific, i.e., chenodiol is more efficiently 7-dehydroxylated than ursodiol and, for equimolar doses of ursodiol and chenodiol, levels of lithocholic acid appearing in bile are lower with the former. Man has the capacity to sulfate lithocholic acid. Although liver injury has not been associated with ursodiol therapy, a reduced capacity to sulfate may exist in some individuals, but such a deficiency has not yet been clearly demonstrated.
Ursodiol suppresses hepatic synthesis and secretion of cholesterol, and also inhibits intestinal absorption of cholesterol. It appears to have little inhibitory effect on synthesis and secretion into bile of endogenous bile acids, and does not appear to affect secretion of phospholipids into bile.
With repeated dosing, bile ursodeoxycholic acid concentrations reach a steady-state in about 3 weeks. Although insoluble in aqueous media, cholesterol can be solubilized in at least two different ways in the presence of dihydroxy bile acids. In addition to solubilizing cholesterol in micelles, ursodiol acts by an apparently unique mechanism to cause dispersion of cholesterol as liquid crystals in aqueous media. Thus, even though administration of high doses (e.g., 15 - 18 mg/kg/day) does not result in a concentration of ursodiol higher than 60% of the total bile acid pool, ursodiol-rich bile effectively solubilizes cholesterol. The overall effect of ursodiol is to increase the concentration level at which saturation of cholesterol occurs.
The various actions of ursodiol combine to change the bile of patients with gallstones from cholesterol-precipitating to cholesterol-solubilizing, thus resulting in bile conducive to cholesterol stone dissolution.
After ursodiol dosing is stopped, the concentration of the bile acid in bile falls exponentially, declining to about 5 to 10% of its steady-state level in about 1 week.
On the basis of clinical trial results in a total of 868 patients with radiolucent gallstones treated in 8 studies (three in the U.S. involving 282 patients, one in the U.K. involving 130 patients, and four in Italy involving 456 patients) for periods ranging from 6 to 78 months with Actigall doses ranging from about 5 - 20 mg/kg/day, an Actigall dose of about 8 - 10 mg/kg/day appeared to be the best dose. With an Actigall dose of about 10 mg/kg/day, complete stone dissolution can be anticipated in about 30% of unselected patients with uncalcified gallstones < 20 mm in maximal diameter treated for up to 2 years. Patients with calcified gallstones prior to treatment, or patients who develop stone calcification or gallbladder nonvisualization on treatment, and patients with stones > 20 mm in maximal diameter rarely dissolve their stones. The chance of gallstone dissolution is increased up to 50% in patients with floating or floatable stones (i.e., those with high cholesterol content), and is inversely related to stone size for those < 20 mm in maximal diameter. Complete dissolution was observed in 81% of patients with stones up to 5 mm in diameter. Age, sex, weight, degree of obesity, and serum cholesterol level are not related to the chance of stone dissolution with Actigall.
A nonvisualizing gallbladder by oral cholecystogram prior to the initiation of therapy is not a contraindication to Actigall therapy (the group of patients with nonvisualizing gallbladders in the Actigall studies had complete stone dissolution rates similar to the group of patients with visualizing gallbladders). However, gallbladder nonvisualization developing during ursodiol treatment predicts failure of complete stone dissolution and in such cases therapy should be discontinued.
Partial stone dissolution occurring within 6 months of beginning therapy with Actigall appears to be associated with a > 70% chance of eventual complete stone dissolution with further treatment; partial dissolution observed within 1 year of starting therapy indicates a 40% probability of complete dissolution.
Stone recurrence after dissolution with Actigall therapy was seen within 2 years in 8/27 (30%) of patients in the U.K. studies. Of 16 patients in the U.K. study whose stones had previously dissolved on chenodiol but later recurred, 11 had complete dissolution on Actigall. Stone recurrence has been observed in up to 50% of patients within 5 years of complete stone dissolution on ursodiol therapy. Serial ultrasonographic examinations should be obtained to monitor for recurrence of stones, bearing in mind that radiolucency of the stones should be established before another course of Actigall is instituted. A prophylactic dose of Actigall has not been established.
Two placebo-controlled, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, parallel group trials in a total of 1,316 obese patients were undertaken to evaluate Actigall in the prevention of gallstone formation in obese patients undergoing rapid weight loss. The first trial consisted of 1,004 obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 38 who underwent weight loss induced by means of a very low calorie diet for a period of 16 weeks. An intent-to-treat analysis of this trial showed that gallstone formation occurred in 23% of the placebo group, while those patients on 300, 600, or 1200 mg/day of Actigall experienced a 6%, 3%, and 2% incidence of gallstone formation, respectively. The mean weight loss for this 16-week trial was 47 lb for the placebo group, and 47, 48, and 50 lb for the 300, 600, and 1200 mg/day Actigall groups, respectively.
The second trial consisted of 312 obese patients (BMI ≥ 40) who underwent rapid weight loss through gastric bypass surgery. The trial drug treatment period was for 6 months following this surgery. Results of this trial showed that gallstone formation occurred in 23% of the placebo group, while those patients on 300, 600, or 1200 mg/day of Actigall experienced a 9%, 1%, and 5% incidence of gallstone formation, respectively. The mean weight loss for this 6-month trial was 64 lb for the placebo group, and 67, 74, and 72 lb for the 300, 600, and 1200 mg/day Actigall groups, respectively.
How is Actigall Supplied
Actigall Capsules are opaque white and pink capsules imprinted “Actigall” on one half and “300 mg” on the other half of the capsule in black.
Bottles of 100 are supplied with child-resistant closures.
Store at 20-25°C (68-77°F). [See USP controlled room temperature.]
Dispense in a tight container (USP).
Keep out of reach of children.
For all medical inquiries contact:
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Watson Pharma Private Limited
Verna, Salcette Goa 403 722 INDIA
Actavis Pharma, Inc.
Parsippany, NJ 07054 USA
Content Updated: November 2014
Actavis Pharma, Inc.
Take Actigall exactly as prescribed.
Actigall comes in oral capsule form and is taken 2 to 3 times a day.
If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Actigall at the same time.
Dissolution of gallstones may take months to years of therapy, and complete dissolution does not occur in all patients.
If you take too much Actigall, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
If Actigall is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose if suspected, seek emergency medical attention.