Toxic hepatitis occurs as a response to exposure to certain toxic chemicals, including but not limited to alcohol, drugs, medications, supplements, and industrial or household chemicals. Toxic hepatitis can develop within hours, days, or months of exposure to the toxin. Toxins that affect the liver are termed hepatotoxins.
Often symptoms of toxic hepatitis subside once exposure to the toxin is eliminated. Toxic hepatitis can cause permanent damage to the liver through cirrhosis(scarring) and liver failure.
Toxic hepatitis is always caused by excessive exposure to a toxic substance. Toxic substances include:
polychlorinated biphenyls is to be avoided.
The presence of other liver conditions increases the risk of developing toxic hepatitis.
Aging is a risk factor in toxic hepatitis,as the liver breaks down toxins more slowly with time.
Alcohol, especially when taken with medication, increasesthe risk of toxic hepatitis.
Females are more likely than males to suffer from liver toxicity.
Certain genetic conditions can affect liver enzyme production.
Symptoms of toxic hepatitis include:
A diagnosis of toxic hepatitis is made through physical exam, a report of medical history, blood tests to investigate liver enzymes and liver function, and imaging tests such as - ultrasound or CT scan to check for abnormalities.
A liver biopsy may be used to help confirm diagnosis.
Exposure to the contributing toxin must stop. Take medication only as directed and never with alcohol. Be conscious that herbs and supplements can cause liver damage. Take extra precautions when around chemicals: be sure to use a mask and cover as much of your skin as possible. Toxins that are inhaled or absorbed through the skin will still effect the liver. Keep all toxins away from children.
In severe cases of toxic hepatitis a liver transplant may be necessary.