Can You Dissolve Gallstones?

Identification

Two different medications, chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA, also known as ursodiol), may be used to dissolve gallstones.

Features

Medications to dissolve gallstones may be given in pill form or may in some cases be passed into the gallbladder through a catheter, according to the health information website Medline Plus.

Warning

The drawbacks of using medications to dissolve gallstones include the length of time it takes the drugs to work (up to two years) and that gallstones commonly come back, according to the Mayo Clinic and Medline Plus.

Potential

The Mayo Clinic notes that an experimental therapy injects medications directly into the gallbladder as a potential way to more quickly dissolve stones. As of 2010, this treatment is still being researched.

Considerations

Gallbladder removal is a better treatment option for most people. The Mayo Clinic reports that using medications to dissolve gallstones occurs only for people who cannot have surgery.