Drug-Induced Liver Disease - Causes

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What types of liver disease do drugs cause?

Drugs and chemicals can cause a wide spectrum of liver injury. These include:

  • Mild elevations in blood levels of liver enzymes without symptoms or signs of liver disease
  • Hepatitis (inflammation of liver cells)
  • Necrosis (death of liver cells) that often is caused by more severe hepatitis
  • Cholestasis (decreased secretion and/or flow of bile)
  • Steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver)
  • Cirrhosis (advanced scarring of the liver) as a result of chronic hepatitis, cholestasis, or fatty liver
  • Mixed disease, for example both hepatitis and necrosis of liver cells, hepatitis and fat accumulation, or cholestasis and hepatitis.
  • Fulminant hepatitis with severe, life threatening liver failure
  • Blood clots in the veins of the liver
Return to Drug-Induced Liver Disease

See what others are saying

Comment from: Elizabeth, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 28

Last December I got beat up in a major department store parking lot and have had headaches every day since then. Most of the time I can tolerate the pain, but sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. I have tried every type of headache medication out there that is OTC. I am current not working nor do I have a regular doctor. I have gone to the hospital and they did some tests but found nothing. The pain is not any worse with noise. The pain is not in one location in my head, it is all over. Right now it hurts so much I am crying. Please help. I had G6PDD symptoms at age 4 from eating Fava beans and garbanzo beans. In 2003, I was given Zocor Statin and became jaundiced, so I stopped Zocor. In January, 2010, I was given Aleve for Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a Cough/fever/flu/cold symptom cough syrup which contained Tylenol. At the hospital, I was treated as though I had a heart attack, instead of pneumonia, even though I presented with tarry stools and reddish brown urine, jaundice on my skin and in my eyes. My tongue was dark bluish black. Meaning that I had Hemolysis and low iron. I was also given a sulfa-based antibiotic, Coreg and Atacand, all of which made my symptoms worse, and all of which had black box warnings about liver damage over my protests. I was told that although my parents both had G6PDD, that I could not, because I am a girl. Oh, how ignorant these doctors be. To save my life, I had to check out of the hospital, stop all medicines, and go to my hematologist.

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Comment from: sickone88, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

The doctors had me on two medications that make your liver sick - statins and Elavil. Then they put me on doxycycline and then switched it to Macrobid - talk about a quadruple whammy! Now I'm very sick, my eyes are yellow and I'm itchy. I'm worried about my liver and afraid to go back to the hospital, they made me sick, I had to ask the doctors to take me off medications I read about.

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