Medical uses[ edit ] UDCA has been used as medical therapy in gallstone disease cholelithiasis and for biliary sludge.
UDCA lessens itching in the mother and may reduce the number of preterm births. Effects on fetal distress and other adverse outcomes are unlikely to be great. Evidence is accumulating that ursodeoxycholic acid is ineffective and unsafe in neonatal hepatitis and neonatal cholestasis.
Bacterial conversion of UDCA to chenodeoxycholic acid may be the mechanism for this side effect. Right upper quadrant abdominal pain and exacerbation of pruritus was occasionally reported in trials in patients with PBC. When secreted into the intestine, primary bile acids can be metabolized into secondary bile acids by intestinal bacteria.
Primary and secondary bile acids help the body digest fats.
Ursodeoxycholic acid helps regulate cholesterol by reducing the rate at which the intestine absorbs cholesterol molecules while breaking up micelles containing cholesterol. The drug reduces cholesterol absorption and is used to dissolve cholesterol gallstones in patients who want an alternative to surgery.
It has been linked to regulation of immunoregulatory responses by regulation of cytokines antimicrobial peptides defensins and take an active part in increased restitution of wound in the colon.