There are many types of Hepatitis including type A, B, C, and D, but there is another less known form called Drug Induced Hepatitis. The liver is designed to break down any medications given over the counter or prescribed by the doctor but some individuals, myself being one, have a slow functioning liver that can increase the risk and chances of liver damage.
What Drugs Cause Hepatitis?
There are many drugs that can cause drug induced hepatitis and many of them people take everyday without really understanding the risks. Any medication that contains acetaminophen such as Tylenol, when taken regularly can cause hepatitis. Other drugs include: steroids, birth control pills, sulfa drugs, statins, and many more.
A Routine Blood Test
While having a routine blood tests which happens every 6 months due to my diagnosis of hypothyroidism, my doctor discovered that my liver enzymes were pretty high. My thyroid however was fine, so the symptoms I had been experiencing, she concluded, were from hepatitis.
Symptoms of Drug Induced Hepatitis
For a few weeks I had been noticing that I was fatigued more than usual and was experiencing a loss of appetite and nausea. I had abdominal pain and I was having a headache everyday but I just figured that maybe it was something I ate so I put if off for a little while. If it had not been for my blood test, I wouldn’t have known and may have continued to damage my liver. Other symptoms include diarrhea, jaundice, and fever.
What caused my Hepatitis?
A couple weeks before my symptoms, I had dental work done and was prescribed pain killers such as Advil or Tylenol. I started taking Advil, but worried about my stomach as Advil can adversely affect the lining of the stomach, so I switched to Tylenol. I was taking it religiously every 4-6 hours for pain management not realizing I was causing hepatitis.
How is Drug Induced Hepatitis Treated?
The first thing to do is to stop taking the drugs immediately. Within a few days or weeks, depending on how much of the drug you took, the hepatitis will go away. Other treatment involves rest, abstaining from alcohol, and acetaminophen.
Road To Recovery
It didn’t take long after refraining from taking Tylenol that my liver enzymes returned to normal. Make sure to take these hepatitis drugs sparingly, know your limits, and your facts!