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Actigall (Ursodiol, Ursodeoxycholic)

###table###Actigall(Ursodiol,Ursodeoxycholic)
Other names: Urso
DIGESTIVE DISEASES
If you ever have had to endure the pain of a peptic ulcer attack, you will be ecstatic to hear that the odds are now 70 percent in favor of your ulcer being cured – with antibiotics. And you will have plenty of company: The nation’s estimated 20 million residents who either have or are expected to develop peptic ulcers will be happy to hear it, too.
Thanks to a revolutionary discovery that a particular bacterium (a germ) causes most of these ulcers, doctors now use antibiotics to treat – and often cure – them.
The antibiotics have been added to a medical arsenal of powerful drugs that curb the stomach’s production of acid. For a generation now, these drugs have relieved the pain of peptic ulcers, but they haven’t cured all of them. Antibiotics kill germs, so antibiotics can cure ulcers.
Previously, doctors believed that ulcers were caused by digestive enzymes that, combined with stomach acid, ate away at the walls of the stomach or the duodenum, the pipe that connects the small intestine and the stomach. Eventually, some patients with recurrent ulcers required surgeons to cut out the affected area of the stomach.
News of the theory that a specific bacterium or germ caused ulcers came from a small hospital in Australia about 15 years ago. At first, nobody in the medical world believed it. For years, doctors had blamed ulcers on smoking, drinking, bad diet, and/or anxiety. Doctors “knew” that a high-powered business executive’s ulcers came with the job, that nervous tension triggered stomach acid by the bucketful, that stomach acid caused ulcers.
Now scientific proof shows that ulcers are caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, visible only under a microscope. The bacteria settle in the lining of the stomach, opening a wound that is then made worse by the acids and digestive juices. The result is something that resembles a flattened volcano or a white-centered, red-rimmed, painful canker sore.
By killing the bacteria with antibiotics, scientists can stop the disease. Doctors estimate that they now can cure 90 percent of the ulcers that are caused by the H. pylori strain. And, for the first time, medication can prevent the recurrence of ulcers.
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