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Gallstones

Israeli trial to assess post-op gallstone drug

Many people have to undergo another operation to remove the gallbladder, as stones that are not removed or dissolved can cause serious complications and can even be life threatening.

Israeli researchers have initiated a trial that will assess the effectiveness of a drug on patients who have undergone bariatric surgery and have developed gallstones during the past year to determine whether it can dissolve the gallstones and prevent the need for surgery. Four medical centres including Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and the private Assuta Medical Center in Herzliya.

After major weight loss – which often occurs after bariatric (stomach shortening or stomach bypass) surgery but can also result from a strict diet – gallstones often form within months. Many people have to undergo another operation to remove the gallbladder, as stones that are not removed or dissolved can cause serious complications and can even be life threatening.

Dr Yoav Lurie, a gastroenterologist at Shaare Zedek, told The Jerusalem Post. that gallstones are more common in women than men, in the overweight and obese, Caucasians, people over the age of 40 and in fertile women, even during pregnancy.

The experimental drug to be tested over the coming year was developed by the late Professor Tuvia Gilat of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, and is not yet been approved by the authorities. It is based on a substance that is similar to compounds that exist naturally in the liver and is not known to cause any side effects.

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