The sunnybrook gallstone study: A double-blind controlled trial of chenodeoxycholic acid for gallstone dissolution

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Abstract

The Sunnybrook Gallstone Study was a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of chenodeoxycholic acid treatment over 2 years in 160 patients with radiolucent gallstones. Sixty-four patients received 750 mg daily, 53 received 375 mg daily and 43 received placebo. Total dissolution of gallstones occurred in 10.9% of patients on 750 mg daily, 13.2% of those on 375 mg daily and in no patient on placebo. The drug was tolerated well. Diarrhea severe enough to cause withdrawal from the study occurred in two patients. No patient developed clinically significant hepatotoxicity. Serum cholesterol rose 10% or more above baseline after 2 years in 33% of patients treated with chenodeoxycholic acid and in 30% of those on placebo. Cholecystectomy was performed in 10.9% of patients on 750 mg daily, 17% on 375 mg daily and 13.6% on placebo. Chenodeoxycholic acid given at these doses dissolved radiolucent gallstones safely but the efficacy was limited.

Ancillary