Menu   WellSpan Health

Health Library

Health Library

Drug-Induced Hepatitis

What is drug-induced hepatitis?

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, resulting in liver cell damage and destruction. Drug-induced hepatitis is rare and is caused by toxic exposure to certain medications, vitamins, herbal remedies, or food supplements. Usually, the toxicity occurs after taking the causative agent for several months, or from an overdose of a medication, such as acetaminophen. Usually, the agent is discontinued once hepatitis is suspected and is rarely restarted unless it is absolutely essential for treatment.

What are the symptoms of drug-induced hepatitis?

The following are the most common symptoms of drug-induced hepatitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever

  • Rash or itchy red hives on skin

  • Joint pain

  • Sore muscles

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Decreased appetite

  • Sore muscles

  • Dark urine

  • Pale or clay-colored stools

  • Jaundice. A yellowing of the skin and eyes.

The symptoms of drug-induced hepatitis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is drug-induced hepatitis diagnosed?

In addition to complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for drug-induced hepatitis may include the following:

  • Specific laboratory blood tests, such as the following:

    • Liver function studies

    • Cellular blood counts

    • Bleeding times

    • Electrolyte tests

    • Tests for other chemicals in the body

    • Drug screening tests

  • Ultrasound (also called sonography). A diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs of the abdomen, such as the liver spleen, and kidneys, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.

  • Liver biopsy. A procedure in which tissue samples from the liver are removed (with a needle or during surgery) from the body for examination under a microscope.

Treatment for drug-induced hepatitis

Specific treatment for drug-induced hepatitis will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the disease

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment for drug-induced hepatitis is to discontinue taking the causative agent and monitor the liver closely while it recovers. Some drugs may cause a slight increase in liver enzymes without symptoms. It may not be necessary to discontinue using these medications. Always consult your doctor. If drug-induced hepatitis is suspected and confirmed, serial blood tests will be necessary, and possibly a referral to a liver specialist. Your doctor will report the findings to the FDA and the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Drug-Induced Hepatitis - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Sohrabi, Farrokh, MD
Last Review Date: 2012-04-26T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2012-04-27T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2012-04-27T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to www.mywellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×