Medicinal Hepatitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Medicinal hepatitis is an inflammatory process in the liver, provoked by certain medications. If the treatment of the disease is not started in a timely manner, it is quite possible the onset of necrotic processes in the affected organ and cirrhosis. In the advanced stages there is no exception to the lethal outcome. According to statistics, medicinal hepatitis is three times more likely to be diagnosed in women than in men. This circumstance has no scientific explanation.


The main reason for the development of drug-induced hepatitis is the long-term use and high dosage of hepatotoxic drugs. Their effects lead to depletion of enzymes that neutralize the active substances of medicines, and damage to the cells of the organ.

The risk factors for the formation of this ailment include:

  • history of chronic hepatitis
  • abuse of alcohol and surrogates
  • Contact with toxic substances
  • Pregnancy
  • poor nutrition;
  • prolonged nervous tension
  • kidney failure
  • genetic predisposition.

To medicamental preparations that can provoke the development of toxic drug hepatitis, it is necessary to attribute:

  1. antibiotics, especially the tetracycline group
  2. anti-tuberculosis
  3. cytostatics;
  4. diuretics
  5. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory;
  6. antimicrobial
  7. proton pump inhibitors;
  8. hormonal;
  9. antidiabetic;
  10. preparations for the management of epileptic seizures and seizures

It should also be understood that the moderate intake of drugs from this list, with the advice of a doctor and with a strong immune system should not be considered as a 100% predisposition to the development of drug-induced hepatitis.

It should be noted that this type of disease does not have a clear incubation period. This disease can be formed both during several years of taking medication, and after several weeks from the beginning of treatment with certain medications.

Some patients develop chronic drug hepatitis, which is difficult to treat. As a rule, this form of ailment occurs in people who are forced to take certain medications constantly.


According to the nature of the disease, two forms are distinguished:

  • acute — characterized by an intense clinical picture, comparatively well treatable
  • Chronic form — often developing for several years, poorly responding to therapy, often leads to cirrhosis of the liver.

Regardless of what caused the development of this pathological process, treatment should begin immediately.


Symptoms of medicinal hepatitis are almost identical to the clinical picture of viral hepatitis. The clinical picture is as follows:

  1. pain, a feeling of heaviness in the right hypochondrium
  2. nausea, often with vomiting. Sometimes vomit can have bile impurities;
  3. general weakness, malaise
  4. disruption of the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract
  5. Diarrhea attacks after eating fatty, heavy foods
  6. a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, even with a minimal amount of food consumed
  7. jaundice of the skin
  8. Itching over the body
  9. a saturated dark color of urine
  10. discoloration of feces;
  11. enlargement of the liver and spleen

It should be noted that chronic drug hepatitis (CLG) may be asymptomatic for a long time. In some cases, the patient may be disturbed, especially during taking medication, periodic abdominal pain, heaviness in the right hypochondrium and short-term disruption of the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptomatics can completely disappear after discontinuing drug use. That is why, the chronic form of the disease is often diagnosed at a neglected stage.

The manifestation of such symptoms does not always indicate exactly the drug hepatitis, so you can not take the medication yourself. Such medical measures can aggravate the development of the pathological process, which can also lead to the formation of concomitant diseases. Not an exception and a lethal outcome.


In the presence of the above symptoms, you should consult your doctor. After clarifying the complaints, anamnesis of the disease and life, the doctor appoints a survey.

The diagnostic program may include the following methods:

  • general and biochemical blood test
  • general urine analysis
  • coagulogram
  • Coprogram;
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity;
  • Liver biopsy

Since the clinical picture is rather ambiguous and can be a manifestation of other liver diseases, differential diagnosis is performed to exclude or confirm such diseases:

  1. Oncological process
  2. cholelithiasis
  3. liver tumor
  4. Viral hepatitis.

The therapy program will be appointed by the attending physician after an accurate diagnosis and detection of the etiology of the disease.


Treatment of drug-induced hepatitis is only complex, with the observance of diet therapy.

First of all, the use of hepatotoxic drugs is canceled. Then, detoxification therapy is prescribed.

To remove from the body of toxic substances is assigned:

  • Infusion therapy
  • in more severe cases — plasmapheresis and hemodialysis

Medication therapy involves the replacement of a hepatotoxic drug with a safe analogue. If this is not possible, hepatoprotectors are prescribed to prevent the development of chronic drug hepatitis.

The duration of medication, dosage and treatment is prescribed by a strictly attending physician. The introduction of unauthorized adjustments to the course of treatment is unacceptable.

The program of treatment of both acute and chronic drug hepatitis necessarily includes dietotherapy. Diet in toxic drug hepatitis implies the exclusion of the following:

  1. Alcohol;
  2. fatty meats, fish, offal
  3. foods with high cholesterol;
  4. cocoa, strong tea, coffee
  5. chocolate;
  6. products containing oxalic acid.

The patient’s diet should consist of light, but at the same time, nutritious foods. The diet implies such a daily protein-energy composition:

  • Carbohydrates — 350-400 grams
  • fats — not more than 90 grams, of which 30 grams of vegetable origin
  • proteins — not more than 100 grams, of which 60 grams of animal origin
  • table salt not more than 4 grams per day.

Food should be only warm, steamed or boiled. The preferred consistency of the dishes is liquid, rewet, and puree. Nutrition of the patient should be frequent (4-5 times a day), in small portions and at intervals of 2.5-3 hours.

Compliance with the drinking regime is also important. The volume of liquid drunk per day must be at least two liters. It is recommended to drink mineral water without gas.


If the treatment of drug-induced hepatitis is initiated in a timely manner, then a complete restoration of the functioning of the liver is possible. Otherwise, it is possible to develop serious pathological processes — liver cirrhosis, hepatic insufficiency. Do not be ruled out and lethal.


Preventive measures of this ailment are as follows:

  1. taking only medication prescribed by a doctor and observing their dosage
  2. timely and correct treatment of all diseases
  3. preventive examination by specialized medical specialists

In the presence of the above symptomatology, you need to seek the help of qualified medical professionals, rather than self-medicate.