Ursodiol: Uses & Side Effects

Ursodiol is a bile acid that decreases the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and absorbed by the intestines. Ursodiol helps break down cholesterol that has formed into stones in the gallbladder. Ursodiol also increases bile flow in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis.

Ursodiol is used to treat primary biliary cirrhosis.

Ursodiol capsules are used to treat small gallstones in people who cannot have gallbladder surgery, and to prevent gallstones in overweight patients undergoing rapid weight loss. Ursodiol capsules are not for treating gallstones that are calcified.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use ursodiol if you are allergic to it, or if you have an obstruction in your liver or gallbladder.

To make sure ursodiol is safe for you, tell your doctor if:

  • you have been coughing up blood; or
  • you have gained weight rapidly, especially in your face and midsection.

Ursodiol is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether ursodiol passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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:

  • headache, dizziness;
  • mild stomach pain or discomfort;
  • nausea, diarrhea, constipation;
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
  • hair loss; or
  • mild itching or rash.


Keyword: ursodiol.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.