Log in
PBC Foundation
6,900 members5,933 posts

Urso and cholesterol lowering drugs?

Hello, wondered whether anyone could tell me whether they are on urso as well as cholesterol tablets ? I had transplant last year for pbc and post transplant started with raised cholesterol, which is managed with Atorvastatin 20mg . I've recently been to see my specialist who has put me on Urso 900mg as a preventative for recurrent pbc but I've read somewhere that this can also lower cholesterol. I hadn't mentioned about my cholesterol drug as it was the diabetic specialist who put me on this. Completely forgot. Not due back to see specialist until January and it's not easy to get hold of him. Did ring GP on Friday but he didn't know either. Can anyone help ?

Also does anyone get itchy with Urso ? I had an awful night scratching last night.

Thanks a lot

gill x

6 Replies

Hi, as I understand it, a symptom of PBC is higher cholesterol (as bile acids are important in its control). Higher levels of cholesterol are also thought to be the, of one of the, causes of the itching that many of us get. The main "cure" for itching is Questran - which works by reducing cholesterol levels. Maybe, you could discuss with your doctor changing your cholesterol reducing drugs to Questran? (BTW - the science I quote is from US medical research (See National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing house).

Hope this helps in some small way.

Best wishes


Good morning sheepjane, thanks for your reply. Think I need to contact my consultant don't I. I'm worried about being on both meds at the same time. Years ago when I was first diagnosed with pbc I was put on urso but my itching was made worse. I was stage 3 when diagnosed and the urso didn't help my liver ( think it was too late) so after about a year I was advised to stop taking it.

Thanks for the info will certainly look into it,

much appreciated Gill x


Mclachlang - I know you were stage 3 when you had your transplant. Would you tell me why they did a transplant? I am stage 4 and I am wondering why they don't put me on a list. I am always in pain and the URSO has stopped working. I have so many symptomms but they still haven't advised me to get one which is worrying me. Also I take a drug for the itching. It is called Hydroxyzine, which completely helps.


Hello mclachlang.

You can have high cholesterol readings with PBC.

Back in 2010 when I started to itch it was found that I had slightly higher readings but it was said that they were of no insignificance at the time..

Urso does actually dissolve cholesterol gallstones so it would more than likely deal with some of that in our system in PBC. Urso was originally produced for gallstones and then someone discovered it might aid PBC patients as it adds more bile to the system. I expect due to a compromised biliary flow with it not being known how the biles ducts are doing due to PBC then the addition of urso simply helps deal with the break down of fats that apparently causes less strain on the liver. That is the theory of urso for PBC anyway.

I have read on here that other PBC patients are taking cholesterol but it cuiold well be that it is has also been read by your diabetic doctor but it would be worth asking.

Urso can cause itching but also PBC causes itching in most too. I did think at the start of taking urso back in Dec 2010 that my itch felt worse than it was prior to starting but with improved LFTs I continued to take urso and have been doing so for almost 4yrs now. I think the urso for me does cause itching but the improved LFTs have lessened the itch so both rule each other out and as a result I still itch. The itch though has settled somewhat over the last almost 5yrs (I started to itch early 2010 and that is how I got on the road to PBC diagnosis) and it tends to be more of a night time thing for me these days.

It might also be the fact that this brand of urso could be the cause . I was switched to a different urso later last year after a withdrawal of one I was taking. I experienced bad heartburn which I hadn't done like that at the start of taking urso originally. I did experience heartburn and bloating in the early days of urso but last year it would not vanish. I ended up with a different brand of urso and so far so good.


Thanks for your reply peridot, the funny thing was that I was very poorly with pbc ( hence transplant) but I didn't have high cholesterol, yet I have it now - it's well controlled with meds though. I'm just worried could be doing myself harm by taking both meds. Have sent email to transplant Coordinator so hopefully they will get back to me with advice soon.

Thanks again

Gill x

1 like

Hi Mclachlang. I too had raised cholesterol which led my GP to prescribe statins. However, on talking to my PBC nurse practitioner, she saw raised cholesterol as a part of the PBC package for many people. I stopped the statin due to weight gain and worsening of my joint and muscle pains. Also, on starting URSO, I was more itchy than I had been before. However, this settled down after a month or two and I am itchy only rarely now.


You may also like...