Chenodiol (Oral)

Chenodiol is a medication that is usually prescribed to patients who need to undergo gallbladder surgery.


Chenodiol is a useful medication taken by those who may or may not have to undergo gallbladder surgery. It is used to treat gallstones by breaking down the cholesterol in the liver which makes up the gallstones. Chenodiol can only be obtained via a prescription, as not all patients are given it. Chenodiol itself is already a natural acid found in the body.

It is usually prescribed to patients who do not immediately require gallbladder surgery, or to those who are at risk of undergoing surgery. Dissolving gallstones is a process that can take up to 24 months, though by taking Chenodiol you can hopefully remove much of the unpleasantness, and try to avoid the need for surgery.

Your doctor is able to use sonograms and x rays to properly track the size of your gallstones to measure their progress. You should maintain regular appointments with your doctor throughout your treatment of Chenodiol, as they can then properly see how well it is working.

Condition(s) treated

  • Gallstones

Type of medicine

  • Tablet

Side Effects

There is a wide range of potential side effects that could arise while you are taking Chenodiol. Some require more urgent medical attention, whilst others are to be expected to a small extent and don't pose any immediate threat. Here is a list of side effects which would require you to seek immediate medical help.

  • Throat soreness
  • Short breath
  • Difficulty or pain whilst urinating
  • Severe chills
  • Swollen glands
  • Fever
  • Pains in the chest
  • Ulcers, white spots or sores in the mouth or on the lips
  • Persistent cough
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Unexpected bruising or bleeding
  • Black, tarry stools

Here are some side effects which do not necessarily require urgent medical attention. Do note that the some of the effects below will go away or crop up as your treatment continues. If any of these side effects are worrying you at all, then do contact your doctor as they can advise you whether to potentially reduce your dosage or not.

  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the chest just below the breastbone
  • Pain or discomfort in the throat upper stomach or chest
  • Feeling bloated
  • Cramps
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Frequently passing gas
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • An upset or uncomfortable stomach
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Excess gas or air in the intestines or stomach
  • A loss of appetite
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • A feeling of being full
  • Sour stomach or acid
  • Belching

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.


The exact dosage of Chenodiol with which you are prescribed will be decided by your doctor. The dosage takes into account a number of different factors, including your height, weight, age and existing medical condition. Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor, you should take the tablet twice a day once in the morning and once at night. It can be taken with or without food.

As a general rule, for an adult, you are usually prescribed 13 to 16 milligrams a day, per kg of body weight. As you take the dose twice daily, this total amount is divided equally into two. If you miss a dose at all then, try and take it as soon as possible. However you should not double dose, so if it is almost time again for your next dose, then skip the one you forgot.

Other antacid drugs you take containing aluminum are also designed to lower your cholesterol. In turn, these alternate medications can affect the way in which your body is then able to absorb Chenodiol. For this reason, separate such drugs from Chenodiol by four hours. You should also make your doctor fully aware of these drugs you are taking as they can offer you more detailed guidance on the matter.

Another reason for this being prescribed by your doctor is that your dosage of Chenodiol will likely be gradually increased over time. It has the ability to give you diarrhea, so weening you on to it is an effective way to help restrict the effects of this.

To receive maximum benefit from Chenodiol, do not stop taking it unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Also, try to take it the same times each day to build up greater consistency. Do be aware that it can take up to 24 months for all of your gallstones to completely dissolve.

Maintain all appointments with your doctor throughout your course of taking Chenodiol. Sonograms and x rays are vital in keeping track of the size of the gallstones to make sure they are reducing in size. It can be potentially dangerous and very painful to not properly manage the situation and keep an eye on their condition.

In some cases, taking Chenodiol may not effectively treat the gallstones, and could lead to nausea, vomiting or severe stomach and abdominal pain. In such cases, it is recommended you contact your doctor immediately.


Chenodiol is known to react with other aluminum-containing antacids which are designed to reduce cholesterol. Taking such drugs closely to taking Chenodiol can reduce the overall effects it has. You should, therefore, make your doctor well aware of any such drugs you take. It is likely you can continue taking them, however, you will need to leave at least four hours between taking each to minimise any interactions.

Do make your doctor aware of any other drugs you are taking. In some cases, there is the possibility that Chenodiol may react in a way that is manageable, meaning the dose of one or the other may be reduced. In other cases, it may be the situation that they shouldn't be taken together at all and a better alternative may be needed for either one.

The same goes for certain food, drink, alcohol or tobacco that you may be consuming. Taking Chenodiol with certain products may lead to unwanted interactions. For this reason, your doctor may require you to limit or cut out certain parts of your dietary intake.


Chenodiol is known to commonly cause diarrhea. Which is why, as discussed earlier, your dosage is gradually increased over time. If you already suffer from severe diarrhea or develop it over time as a result of taking Chenodiol, then immediately inform your doctor. They may need to reduce or stop you taking it altogether.

There have been studies into the effects of Chenodiol on pregnant women which have found there is a correlation with fetal abnormalities. For this reason, you should not look to take Chenodiol if you are either pregnant or looking to get pregnant. If you do get pregnant whilst taking Chenodiol, then inform your doctor immediately and stop taking it.

Do not attempt to increase your dosage of Chenodiol any quicker than what your doctor prescribes. This will not lead to any improvements in your gallstones, but could instead cause other rather unwanted side effects, including severe diarrhea.

Be sure to properly inform your doctor of any allergies you have to foods, dyes, preservatives or animals, as this may influence your ability to have Chenodiol. They will be able to weigh this, as well as any other personal circumstances you face against the potential risk you face and come to an informed decision as to whether it is the right course of treatment.

There have not yet been suitable for extensive research into the effects of Chenodiol on pediatric or geriatric patients. Again, it will be up to your doctor to effectively weigh up your physical situation and decide if it is the right drug to take.

As mentioned, there is a severe risk of taking Chenodiol whilst pregnant, however, it has not yet been properly researched as to whether this extends to after the birth of the child. There have not been adequate studies into the risk of taking Chenodiol whilst breastfeeding, so it will be at the discretion of the doctor.

There are certain medical conditions that Chenodiol is known to react with, so make sure to tell your doctor if you suffer from any of the following;

  • Liver problems. Such as liver failure of sclerosing cholangitis.
  • Bile duct problems. Such as fistula, intrahepatic cholestasis, blockage, swelling or primary biliary cirrhosis.
  • Elevated liver enzymes.
  • Colon cancer.
  • Any history of liver disease, including hepatitis.

Inform your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of the following;

  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine
  • Tenderness or pain in your upper stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Yellowed skin or eyes
  • Nausea

They could be signs of liver failure.


Chenodiol should at all times be kept inside of a sealed container, with which your doctor will normally supply you. Keep it at room temperature and away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture. Also, you should never allow it to become frozen. Chenodiol is harmful, so keep away from children at all times. When you are done with your treatment, dispose of Chenodiol in a safe and sensible manner, or ask your doctor for guidance. Do not attempt to keep hold of any remaining Chenodiol if you have some left over following a course of treatment for your gallstones.


If taken properly and regularly twice a day, Chenodiol can be a very effective means to treat painful and inconvenient gallstones. In some cases, it will allow you to completely dissolve any gallstones and remove the need for surgery. However, for others, it can mean that surgery is still a necessary route for complete removal. Be sure to consult your doctor fully before starting to use Chenodiol.

It is known to react in many different ways to a number of other drugs, to allergies, foods, and to other health conditions. All doses prescribed are targeted to your individual needs, so what helps solve one person's gallstones will not necessarily help yours. If you are in drastic pain from gallstones at any time, and you think that you need urgent medical assistance then call the hospital.