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What causes gallstones?

About the author: 

A high fat diet is not the only cause of gallstones

A high fat diet is not the only cause of gallstones. Increasingly, a number of drugs or conditions have been implicated in the formation of stones, which are, in the majority of cases, made up of a mixture of substances.

Among conditions, gallstones can be caused byGastrointestinal diseases, especially Crohn's disease and cystic fibrosis. This type of gallstone is more common in the Orient where parasitic infection of the liver and gall bladder (by a variety of organisms, including the liver fluke Clonorchis sinensis) is more common.

Chronic hemolisys, or alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

Drugs which can cause gall stone formation include:

Oral contraceptives and other estrogens, which double a woman's chances of developing gall stones (Ob Gyn, 1994; 83: 5-11).

Progestogens also are implicated. Medroxy progesterone acetate (MPA, Depo Provera) causes gallstone development (Res Comm in Chem Path & Pharm, 1992; 75 1: 69-84).

Clofibrate and other cholesterol lowering drugs, such as ocreotide.

Certain antibiotics like ceftriaxone, a cephalosporin, used for lower respiratory tract infections, skin, urinary tract, infections, pelvic inflammatory diseases, bone and joint infections and meningitis (Lancet, 1988; ii: 1411-3 and 1989; i: 165; Monatsschrift Kinderheilkunde, 1992; 140 8: 488-9; Schweizerische Rundschau fur Medizin Praxis, 1992; 81 [33]: 966-7)

Anti rejection drug cyclosporine, which increases the likelihood of kidney and cardiac transplant patients forming gallstones (J of Ped Surg, 1995; 30 1: 61-4).

Thiazides may increase the risk of acute cholecystitis developing in a patient with gallstones (BMJ, 1984; 289: 654-55).

In children, furosemide (J of Perinatology, June 1992; 12 2: 107-111).

Prostaglandins (Vet & Hum Tox, Dec, 1994; 36 6: 514-6).


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