How To Prevent Gallstones During Weight LossMonday, July 14, 2014
One of the best recognised complications of weight loss – especially if this occurs too rapidly – are the development of gallstones, which can result in acute symptoms and often require surgery.
Now Caroline Stokes and colleagues from the Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg, Germany, publish a systematic review of strategies to prevent weight-loss associate gallbladder stones in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Their analysis includes 13 randomised-controlled trials, comprising 1836 participants undergoing weight loss through dieting (8 trials) or bariatric surgery (5 trials).
Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) reduced the risk of ultrasound-verified gallstones compared with control interventions with a risk ratio of 0.33 and a number-needed-to-treat (NNT) of only 9.
They also found a significant risk reduction with high-fat weight loss diets (risk ration 0.09).
No adverse effects were noted for either intervention.
Thus, it is evident that UDCA and/or higher dietary fat content prevent the formation of gallstones during weight loss and these treatments should likely be initiated particularly in patients, who are undergoing rapid weight loss (particularly those at high risk of gallbladder stones).
Stokes CS, Gluud LL, Casper M, & Lammert F (2014). Ursodeoxycholic Acid and Diets Higher in Fat Prevent Gallbladder Stones During Weight Loss: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 12 (7), 1090-110000 PMID: 24321208