- Take the Liver Disease Quiz
- A Visual Guide to Hepatitis Slideshow
- Take the Alcohol Quiz
- Patient Comments: Drug-Induced Liver Disease - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Drug-Induced Liver Disease - Causes
- Patient Comments: Drug-Induced Liver Disease - Hepatitis
- Patient Comments: Drug-Induced Liver Disease - Treatment
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
- What is drug-induced liver disease?
- What is the liver?
- What are the symptoms of liver disease?
- How do drugs cause liver disease?
- What types of liver disease do drugs cause?
- Elevated blood levels of liver enzymes
- Acute and chronic hepatitis
- Acute liver failure
- Steatosis (fatty liver)
- Hepatic vein thrombosis
- How is drug-induced liver disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for drug-induced liver disease?
- What are some important examples of drug-induced liver disease?
Steatosis (fatty liver)
The most common causes of accumulation of fat in the liver are alcoholism and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associated with obesity and diabetes. Drugs may cause fatty liver with or without associated hepatitis. Patients with drug-induced fatty liver may have only a few symptoms, or none. They typically have mild to moderate elevations in blood levels of ALT and AST, and also may develop enlarged livers. In severe cases, drug-induced fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
Drugs reported to cause fatty liver include total parenteral nutrition, methotrexate (Rheumatrex), griseofulvin (Grifulvin V), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), steroids, valproate (Depakote), and amiodarone (Cordarone).
In certain situations, fatty liver alone can be life threatening. For example, Reye's syndrome is a rare liver disease that can cause fatty liver, liver failure, and coma. It is believed to occur in children and teenagers with influenza when they are given aspirin. Another example of serious fatty liver is caused by high doses of intravenous tetracycline or amiodarone. Certain herbs (for example, the Chinese herb Jin Bu Huan, used as a sedative and pain reliever) also can cause serious fatty liver.