Ursodeoxycholic acid is a dihydroxy bile acid with a rapidly expanding spectrum of usage in acute and chronic liver diseases. The various mechanisms of action of this hydrophilic bile acid include direct cytoprotection, detergent action on dysfunctional microtubules, immunomodulation and induction of hypercholeresis. Its efficacy in primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis as an adjunct to medical therapy has been well established. Newer indications include its use in the management of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, post liver transplant rejection, graft-versus-host disease and acute viral hepatitis, where it not only relieves symptoms of cholestasis but also arrests ongoing hepatocyte necrosis.
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