Published online Aug 21, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i31.5029
Revised: July 12, 2013
Accepted: July 18, 2013
Published online: August 21, 2013
Gallstone disease represents an important issue in the healthcare system. The principal non-invasive non-surgical medical treatment for cholesterol gallstones is still represented by oral litholysis with bile acids. The first successful and documented dissolution of cholesterol gallstones was achieved in 1972. Since then a large number of investigators all over the world, have been dedicated in biochemical and clinical studies on ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), demonstrating its extreme versatility. This editorial is aimed to provide a brief review of recent developments in UDCA use, current indications for its use and, the more recent advances in understanding its effects in terms of an anti-inflammatory drug.
Core tip: Ursodeoxycholic acid can be considered one of the less expensive, best tested and safest of the drugs currently available. This editorial is aimed to provide a brief review of the principal non-invasive non-surgical medical treatments for cholesterol gallstones. Based on the literature and on our experimental and clinical works we try to summarize the recent developments in ursodeoxycholic acid use, current indications for its use and the more recent advances in understanding its effects in terms of an anti-inflammatory drug. For these reasons, the story would not appear to end herewith but deserves further attention and investigation.