The use of Ursolit for gallstone prophylaxis following bariatric surgery: a randomized-controlled trial

Nasser Sakran, Ron Dar, Ahmad Assalia, Ziv Neeman, Moaad Farraj, Shiri Sherf-Dagan, Ian M. Gralnek, Rawi Hazzan, Shams Eldin Mokary, Hadar Nevo-Aboody, Tamar Dola, Uri Kaplan, Dan Hershko

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21 Scopus citations


Background: Although bariatric surgery (BS) predisposes patients to development of gallstone formation, a preventive strategy is still in debate. Aim: To compare the incidence of gallstone formation between patients treated with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) vs. placebo for a duration of 6 months following BS. Methods: This multicenter randomized, double-blind controlled trial entails treatment with UDCA vs. an identical-looking placebo. The primary outcome was gallstone formation, as measured by abdominal ultrasound. Results: The data of 209 subjects were enrolled in the study, and 92 subjects completed the study and were analyzed (n = 46 for each study group). The high dropout rate was mainly due to difficulties in adding more medications and swallowing the pill. Among the subjects who completed the study, 77.2% were women, and their mean age and pre-surgery BMI were 42.2 ± 10.2 years and 44.4 ± 6.1 kg/m2, respectively. Gallstone formation was recorded in 45.7% (n = 21) vs. 23.9% (n = 11) of subjects among placebo vs. UDCA groups, respectively, p = 0.029. Subgroup-analysis, according to surgery type, found that the results were significant only for SG subjects (p = 0.041), although the same trend was observed for OAGB/RYGB. Excess Weight Loss percent (%EWL) at 6 months post-surgery was 66.0 ± 17.1% vs. 71.8 ± 19.5% for the placebo and UDCA groups, respectively; p = 0.136. A trend towards a reduction in prescribed comorbidity medications was noted within-groups during the follow-up period, as compared to baseline, with no between-group differences (p ≥ 0.246). Moreover, no between-group differences were found for blood test results (p ≥ 0.063 for all). Conclusion: Administration of UDCA significantly decreased gallstone formation at 6 months at following BS. number: NCT02319629.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1133
Number of pages9
JournalUpdates in Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Gallstone
  • Gastric bypass
  • Obesity
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid
  • Ursolit


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