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Drug-induced Hepatitis Causes & Risks


A major job of the liver is to process and breakdown (ie, metabolize) foreign substances contained in the blood, including nutrients and chemicals. Some chemicals or drugs that are difficult for the liver to process can damage it, resulting in inflammation.

Some substances associated with toxic hepatitis include:

  • Medications:
  • Herbs and dietary supplements:
    • Comfrey
    • Kava
    • Mistletoe
    • Certain combinations of traditional Chinese medical herbs
    • High doses of vitamin A
  • Chemicals:
    • Carbon tetrachloride (now banned in industry)
    • Chloroform
    • Phosphorous
    • Dimethylformamide

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The way the liver processes drugs and chemicals varies from person to person, so not everyone will become sick from the same substance.

However, exposure to large quantities of even minimally harmful toxins, or multiple different toxins simultaneously, can increase the risk of toxic hepatitis. Patients who consume alcohol excessively or have liver disease are at greater risk of toxic hepatitis when exposed to one or more of its causes.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2021 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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