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Active substance(s): URSODEOXYCHOLIC ACID

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Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets


Each tablet contains 500 mg of ursodeoxycholic acid.
For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.


Film-coated tablet.
White oblong tablet (19 mm long, 8.8 mm wide) with a score line on each side.
The tablet can be divided into equal doses.




Therapeutic indications
- Treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in adult patients without
decompensated cirrhosis.
- Dissolution of radiolucent cholesterol gallstones not larger than 15 mm in diameter
in patients with a functioning gallbladder and for whom surgical treatment is not


Posology and method of administration
Oral route.
For patients weighing less than 47 kg or patients who are unable to swallow Cholurso
500 mg film-coated tablets, other formulations are available (suspension).
The following daily dose is recommended for the various indications:

For treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
Stage I-III
The daily dose is dependent on body weight and ranges from 1½ to 3½ film-coated
tablets (12-16 mg ursodeoxycholic acid per kg of body weight).
During the first 3 months of treatment, Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets should be
taken at mealtime in divided doses throughout the day. If liver function improves, the
total daily dose can be taken once daily in the evening.

Body weight Daily dose

Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets




evening (1 x

47 – 62

12 – 16




63 – 78

13 – 16





79 – 93

13 – 16




94 – 109

14 – 16







Over 110

First 3 m onths


Stage IV:
In combination with increased serum bilirubin levels (> 40 μg/L; conjugated), only
half the normal dosage should initially be given (see dosage for stages I - III), (6 - 8
mg ursodeoxycholic acid per kg body weight per day, equivalent to about 1 to 1½
Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets).
Thereafter, liver function should be closely monitored for several weeks (once every
2 weeks for 6 weeks). If there is no deterioration in liver function (AP, ALAT,
ASAT, gamma-GT, bilirubin) and if no increased pruritus occurs, the dosage can be
increased further to the usual level. However, liver function should again be closely
monitored for several weeks. Once again, if there is no deterioration in liver function,
the patient can be maintained at the normal dosage over the long term.
Patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (stage IV) without increased serum bilirubin
levels are allowed to receive the normal starting dose immediately (see dosage stages
I - III).
However, close monitoring of liver function, as described above, is likewise
applicable in such cases; treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis will need to be
regularly assessed on the basis of liver (laboratory) values and clinical findings.
The tablets should be swallowed whole with some liquid. Care should be taken to
ensure that they are taken regularly.

Dissolution of Gallstones:
Adults: Approx. 10 mg ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) per kg body weight per day
according to:
- up to 60 kg: 1 tablet
- 61-80 kg: 1½ tablet
- 81-100 kg: 2 tablets
- above 100 kg: 2½ tablets
The tablet should be swallowed whole with some liquid in the evening before
bedtime. Care should be taken to ensure that they are taken regularly.
Based on experience to date, the duration of the dissolution process with
Ursodeoxycholic acid is 6 months to 2 years, depending on the initial size of the
stones. For a proper assessment of the therapeutic outcome, it is necessary, at the start
of treatment, to accurately determine the size of the existing stones and subsequently
to monitor them regularly, for example, every 3 to 4 months, via new X-rays and/or
ultrasound scans.
In patients whose stones have not decreased in size after six months of treatment at
the dosage stated, it is recommended that the biliary lithogenic index be determined
via duodenal samples. If the bile has an index of > 1.0, it is unlikely that a favourable
result can be obtained and it is better to consider a different form of treatment for
gallstones. Treatment must be continued for 3 to 4 months after ultrasound follow-up
has confirmed complete dissolution of the gallstones. Discontinuation of treatment for
3-4 weeks leads to a return of bile supersaturation and prolongs the overall duration
of therapy. Discontinuation of treatment upon dissolution of the gallstones may be
followed by a relapse.
Older people: There is no evidence to suggest that any alteration in the adult dose is
needed but the relevant precautions should be taken into account.


Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets should not be used in patients with:

acute inflammation of the gall bladder or biliary tract

occlusion of the biliary tract (occlusion of the common bile duct or a cystic

frequent episodes of biliary colic

radio-opaque calcified gallstones

impaired contractility of the gall bladder


hypersensitivity to active substance or hypersensitivity to peanut or soya or to
any excipients listed in section 6.1

Special warnings and precautions for use
Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets should be taken under medical supervision.
During the first 3 months of treatment, liver function parameters AST (SGOT), ALT
(SGPT) and γ-GT should be monitored by the physician every 4 weeks, thereafter
every 3 months. Apart from allowing for identification of responders and nonresponders in patients being treated for primary biliary cirrhosis, this monitoring
would also enable early detection of potential hepatic deterioration, particularly in
patients with advanced stage primary biliary cirrhosis.
When used for dissolution of cholesterol gallstones:
In order to assess therapeutic progress and for timely detection of any calcification of
the gallstones, depending on stone size, the gall bladder should be visualised (oral
cholecystography) with overview and occlusion views in standing and supine
positions (ultrasound control) 6-10 months after the beginning of treatment.
If the gall bladder cannot be visualised on X-ray images, or in cases of calcified
gallstones, impaired contractility of the gall bladder or frequent episodes of biliary
colic, Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets should not be used.
Female patients taking Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets for dissolution of
gallstones should use an effective non-hormonal method of contraception, since
hormonal contraceptives may increase biliary lithiasis (see section 4.5. and 4.6.).
When used for treatment of advanced stage of primary biliary cirrhosis:
In very rare cases decompensation of hepatic cirrhosis has been observed, which
partially regressed after the treatment was discontinued.
In patients with PBC, in rare cases the clinical symptoms may worsen at the
beginning of treatment, e.g. the itching may increase. In this case the dose of
Cholurso should be reduced to one Cholurso 250 mg film-coated tablet daily and then
gradually increased again as described in section 4.2.
If diarrhoea occurs, the dose must be reduced and in cases of persistent diarrhoea, the
therapy should be discontinued.
Ursodeoxycholic acid must not be used at doses beyond 20 mg/kg/day regarding the
potential higher risk of treatment failures found in patients with primary sclerosing

Soya lecithin:
This medicine contains soya lecithin.
If a patient is hypersensitive to peanut or soya, Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets
should not be used.


Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets should not be administered concomitantly with
colestyramine, colestipol or antacids containing aluminium hydroxide and/or smectite
(aluminium oxide), because these preparations bind ursodeoxycholic acid in the
intestine and thereby inhibit its absorption and efficacy. Should the use of a
preparation containing one of these substances be necessary, it must be taken at least
2 hours before or after Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets.
Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets can affect the absorption of ciclosporin from the
intestine. In patients receiving ciclosporin treatment, blood concentrations of this
substance should therefore be checked by the physician and the ciclosporin dose
adjusted if necessary.
In isolated cases Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets can reduce the absorption of
In a clinical study in healthy volunteers concomitant use of UDCA (500 mg/day) and
rosuvastatin (20 mg/day) resulted in slightly elevated plasma levels of rosuvastatin.
The clinical relevance of this interaction also with regard to other statins is unknown.
Ursodeoxycholic acid has been shown to reduce the plasma peak concentrations
(Cmax) and the area under the curve (AUC) of the calcium antagonist nitrendipine in
healthy volunteers. Close monitoring of the outcome of concurrent use of nitrendipine
and ursodeoxycholic acid is recommended. An increase of the dose of nitrendipine
may be necessary.
An interaction with a reduction of the therapeutic effect of dapsone was also reported.
These observations together with in vitro findings could indicate a potential for
ursodeoxycholic acid to induce cytochrome P450 3A enzymes. Induction has,
however, not been observed in a well-designed interaction study with budesonide,
which is a known cytochrome P450 3A substrate.
Oestrogenic hormones and blood cholesterol lowering agents such as clofibrate
increase hepatic cholesterol secretion and may therefore encourage biliary lithiasis,
which is a counter –effect to ursodeoxycholic acid used for dissolution of gallstones.


Fertility, pregnancy and lactation
Animal studies did not show an influence of ursodeoxycholic acid on fertility (see
section 5.3). Human data on fertility effects following treatment with ursodeoxycholic
acid are not available.
There are no or limited amounts of data from the use of ursodeoxycholic acid in
pregnant women. studies in animals have shown reproductive toxicity during the
early phase of gestation (see section 5.3). Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets must
not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary. Women of childbearing
potential should be treated only if they are using reliable contraception; non-hormonal
or low-oestrogen oral contraceptive measures are recommended. However, in patients
taking Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets for dissolution of gallstones, effective
non-hormonal contraception should be used, since hormonal oral contraceptives may
increase biliary lithiasis.
The possibility of a pregnancy must be excluded before beginning treatment.
According to few documented cases of breastfeeding women milk levels of
ursodeoxycholic acid are very low and probably no adverse reactions are to be
expected in breastfed infants.


Effects on ability to drive and use machines
Cholurso 500 mg film-coated tablets has no or negligible influence on the ability to
drive and use machines.


Undesirable effects
The evaluation of undesirable effects is based on the following frequency data:
Very common (≥ 1/10)
Common (≥ 1/100 to < 1/10)
Uncommon (≥ 1/1,000 to < 1/100)
Rare (≥ 1/10,000 to < 1/1,000)
Very rare / Not known (< 1/10,000 /cannot be estimated from available data)
Gastrointestinal disorders:
Common: pasty stools or diarrhoea (reported from clinical trials).

Very rare: severe right upper abdominal pain (during the treatment of primary biliary
Frequency not known: vomiting.
Hepatobiliary disorders:
Very rare: calcification of gallstones, decompensation of hepatic cirrhosis (during
therapy of the advanced stages of primary biliary cirrhosis), which partially regressed
after the treatment was discontinued.
Frequency not known: increase of the serologic levels of alkaline phosphatase, γ-GT
and bilirubin (in patients with an advanced stage of PBC).
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders:
Very rare: urticaria.
Not known: an exacerbation of pruritus (upon the beginning of UDCA administration
in patients with cirrhosis).
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is
important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal
product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions
via the Yellow Card Scheme at:


Diarrhoea may occur in cases of overdose. In general, other symptoms of overdose
are unlikely because the absorption of ursodeoxycholic acid decreases with increasing
dose and therefore more is excreted with the faeces.
No specific counter-measures are necessary and the consequences of diarrhoea should
be treated symptomatically with restoration of fluid and electrolyte balance.
Additional information on special populations:
Long-term, high-dose ursodeoxycholic acid therapy (28-30 mg/kg/day) in patients
with primary sclerosing cholangitis (off-label use) was associated with higher rates of
serious adverse events.




Pharmacodynamic properties
ATC Code: A05AA02, Bile Acid Preparations
Bile acids are the most important components of bile and play a role in stimulating
bile production. Bile acids are also important to keep cholesterol dissolved in bile. In
healthy individuals, the ratio between cholesterol concentrations and bile acids in the
gallbladder is such that cholesterol is kept dissolved for most of the day. Thus, no
gallstones can form (bile is non-lithogenic). In patients with cholesterol stones in the
gallbladder, this ratio has altered and the bile is supersaturated with cholesterol (bile
is lithogenic). After some time, this may cause precipitation of cholesterol crystals
and the formation of gallstones. Ursodeoxycholic acid can convert lithogenic bile into
non-lithogenic bile and also gradually dissolve cholesterol gallstones.
Studies into the effect of ursodeoxycholic acid on cholestasis in patients with
impaired biliary drainage and on clinical symptoms in patients with biliary cirrhosis
have shown a rapid decline in cholestatic symptoms in the blood (as measured by
increased levels of alkaline phosphatase (AP), gamma-GT and bilirubin) and pruritus,
as well as decreased fatigue in most patients.


Pharmacokinetic properties
Ursodeoxycholic acid occurs naturally in the body. When given orally it is rapidly
and completely absorbed. It is 96-98% bound to plasma proteins and efficiently
extracted by the liver and excreted in the bile as glycine and taurine conjugates. In the
intestine some of the conjugates are deconjugated and reabsorbed. The conjugates
may also be dehydroxylated to lithocholic acid, part of which is absorbed, sulphated
by the liver and excreted via the biliary tract.


Preclinical safety data
a) Acute toxicity
Acute toxicity studies in animals have not revealed any toxic damage.
b) Chronic toxicity
Subchronic toxicity studies in monkeys showed hepatotoxic effects in the groups
given high doses, including functional changes (e.g. liver enzyme changes) and
morphological changes such as bile duct proliferation, portal inflammatory foci and
hepatocellular necrosis. These toxic effects are most likely attributable to lithocholic
acid, a metabolite of ursodeoxycholic acid, which in monkeys – unlike humans – is
not detoxified. Clinical experience confirms that the described hepatotoxic effects are
of no apparent relevance in humans.

c) Carcinogenic and mutagenic potential
Two-year studies in mice and rats revealed no evidence of carcinogenic potential.
In vitro and in vivo genetic toxicology tests with ursodeoxycholic acid were negative.
d) Toxicity to reproduction
In studies in rats, tail malformations occurred after a dose of 2000 mg of
ursodeoxycholic acid per kg of body weight. In rabbits, no teratogenic effects were
found, although there were embryotoxic effects (from a dose of 100 mg per kg of
body weight). Ursodeoxycholic acid had no effect on fertility in rats and did not
affect peri-/post-natal development of the offspring.




List of excipients
Maize starch, sodium laurilsulfate, povidone (E1201), colloidal anhydrous silica,
magnesium stearate.
Lecithin (Soya) (E322), polyethylene glycol (E1521), polyvinyl alcohol (E1203), talc
(E553b), titanium dioxide (E171).


Not applicable


Shelf life
3 years


Special precautions for storage
This medicinal product does not require any special storage conditions.


Nature and contents of container
20, 30, 50 or 60 tablets in blister packs (PVC / PVDC / Aluminium).
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.


Special precautions for disposal
No special requirements for disposal.
Any unused medicinal product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance
with local requirements.


6, avenue de l’Europe,
BP 51,
78401 CHATOU Cedex


PL 19549/0004





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