Pharmacology of bile acids and their derivatives: Absorption promoters and therapeutic agents

  • Mikov M
  • Fawcett J
  • Kuhajda K
 et al. 
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Abstract

The role of bile acids in pharmacotherapy is reviewed in this article. The therapeutic use of bile has been recognized since ancient times. Previously bile acids were the standard treatment for gallstones where chenodeoxycholic acid and ursodeoxycholic acid were effective in promoting the dissolution of cholesterol gallstones. Today their therapeutic role looks set to expand enormously. Bile acids as absorption promoters have the potential to aid intestinal, buccal, transdermal, ocular, nasal, rectal and pulmonary absorption of various drugs at concentrations that are non-toxic. Keto derivatives of cholic acid, such as 3a,7a,dihydroxy-12-keto-5alpha-cholic acid (sodium salt and methyl ester) are potential modifiers of blood-brain barrier transport and have been shown to promote quinine uptake, enhance the analgesic effect of morphine and prolong the sleeping time induced by pentobarbital. They have also been shown to be hypoglycaemic. Bile acids as therapeutic agents have the potential to produce beneficial effects in sexually transmitted diseases, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, gallstones, digestive tract diseases, cystic fibrosis, cancer and diabetes.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Bile acid derivatives
  • Bile acids
  • Pharmacology
  • Promoters
  • Therapeutic agents

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Authors

  • M. Mikov

  • J. P. Fawcett

  • K. Kuhajda

  • S. Kevresan

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