The so called post-cholecystectomy syndrome is common, intractable, often progressive, causes prolonged suffering, and has no approved treatment. It usually presents with episodic biliary pains (colics), and postprandial dyspepsia (bloating and indigestion). Because treating a very recalcitrant case with lovastatin provided prolonged remission, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors were given to 12 subsequent patients with similar symptoms.
To determine whether HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are useful in the therapy of post-cholecystectomy biliary pain and dyspepsia.
Open clinical trial in an internal medicine, private practice setting; data were collected from the patients' charts and from telephone interviews, five years after the index case had been treated.
Eight of 12 patients experienced total resolution of their symptoms after many years of suffering; response occurred slowly within the first three months of treatment. Two other patients responded, stopped their medications, relapsed, and continue to be symptomatic. One patient did not take her medication and remains symptomatic; one other patient did not respond, was diagnosed with carcinoma of the pancreas, and died from it.
These preliminary results suggest that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors may be useful in relieving the symptoms of this common and intractable disorder. Controlled studies are needed.