Recent advances, novel targets and treatments for cholelithiasis; a narrative review

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Eur J Pharmacol. 2021 Jul 22:174376. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174376. Online ahead of print.


Cholelithiasis is a common and frequent condition all over the world with a high prevalence rate in western countries. Individuals with cholesterol gallstone disease experience intense gastrointestinal symptoms and have a high risk of developing comorbidities like cholecystitis, Gall bladder (GB) cancer and pancreatitis. Multiple risk factors associated with cholesterol gallstones include but not limited to genetics, dietary habits, lifestyle changes, comorbid conditions and various drugs. These factors may lead to alteration in bile, cholesterol & phospholipids homeostasis in the GB, intestine and hepatocytes culminating in cholesterol gallstones formation. Surgical (cholecystectomy) and non-surgical (oral dissolution therapy) treatments are available for the disease, albeit with certain complications and high treatment cost. Thus, there is a need for interventions, complementary or alternative therapies for the treatment and prevention of cholesterol gallstones. Currently available drug therapies used for cholesterol gallstones include statins and ezetimibe. Many patients consider traditional herbal practitioners due to their promise of non-invasive and pain free management of gall stones. This present a positive shift towards generally acceptable safety and cost effectiveness of herbal treatment warranting extensive research for alternative or complementary choice such as herbal plants as an emerging area for their potential therapeutic effects. This review discusses current strategies, latest trends available in the disease pathogenesis, drug development for novel targets, risk management, newer anti-lithogenic drugs and herbal plants that target the different aspects of the disease.

PMID:34303667 | DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174376