Hepatotoxicity is a disease that involves functional or anatomical damage to the liver, induced by ingestion of chemical compounds (eg some medicines) or organics.


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  • 1 Drugs
  • 2 What is liver damage?
  • 3 Why does chemotherapy cause liver damage?
  • 4 How is liver damage diagnosed?
  • 5 Liver biopsy
  • 6 Computed tomography (CT)
  • 7 Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • 8 What are the symptoms of liver damage?
  • 9 What is the treatment for liver damage?
  • 10 What else can I do about liver damage?
  • 11 Sources


The drugs of chemotherapy are toxins and can cause damage to the liver . The liver has many vital functions in the body; the most important is to filter out toxic substances from the blood . If more toxins arrive than the liver can treat, liver damage will occur. Damage to the liver can be a very serious problem. Treatment consists of removing the substance or substances that have caused the damage and working to control the symptoms.

What is liver damage?

Damage to the liver, also known as hepatotoxicity , causes this fundamental organ to function improperly or irregularly. The liver is the largest organ in the body and has many vital functions. The liver’s most important task is to filter out toxic substances from your body, such as alcohol and many different medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, and Tylenol ®. Other important functions that the liver performs are:

Assists the spleen to remove old or damaged red blood cells from the blood. Produces bile, a substance that is released into the intestine to aid in the absorption and digestion of fats, and provides a way for the liver to excrete waste products.It produces clotting factors that are critical to forming a clot that stops bleeding. Processes and preserves the vitamins , minerals, proteins , fats, and glucose ( sugar ) in your diet. When the liver is damaged, it may not be able to optimally perform these functions. It is very important that you may not be able to excrete bile, the liver’s primary way of eliminating waste products.

Why does chemotherapy cause liver damage?

Chemotherapy drugs can damage the liver because they are toxins and add stress to the filtering function of the liver.

The liver removes toxins and chemicals from the bloodstream and turns them into products that can be easily eliminated through bile or urine . If toxins build up in the body faster than the liver can process them, liver damage will occur.

How is liver damage diagnosed?

Many tests can be used to diagnose liver damage. Perhaps the most frequent is a blood test. There are many possible causes of liver dysfunction other than liver damage. Therefore, if the blood test indicates that your liver is not working properly, further tests may be done to determine the cause of the problem. Blood test.

Several blood tests can be done to measure substances in the blood that indicate the liver is damaged. These substances include: Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a chemical that is formed during the normal breakdown of red blood cells and is excreted from the liver by bile. When liver cells are damaged, they may not be able to excrete bilirubin normally, causing an accumulation of bilirubin in the blood and extracellular fluid (outside the cells). An elevated bilirubin level may be detectedthrough a blood test. Liver enzymes: Enzymes are proteins that trigger important chemical reactions in the body. There are several enzymes that are produced in the liver and can be elevated if the liver is damaged, such as:

Alanine aminotransferase rearranges the “bricks” of proteins. It is released from damaged liver cells. Aspartate aminotransferase rearranges the “bricks” of proteins. It is released from damaged liver cells. Lactate dehydrogenase participates in energy production. It is released from damaged cells from many parts of the body, such as the liver. Alkaline phosphatase participates in bone growth and is excreted in the bile. It can rise if biliary excretion is inhibited by liver damage.

Liver biopsy

A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the liver and examined under a microscope. You may have this procedure if your doctor suspects that you have liver damage from chemotherapy. Looking at the tissue is the best way to determine if the cells are healthy or damaged.

Computed tomography (CT)

A CT scan creates a very sensitive three-dimensional image of your body. You will receive an injection that contains a small amount of x-ray contrast. The special camera can detect how contrast is captured by different body organs, producing an image that helps your doctor learn how your liver and spleen are working.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP is a procedure that helps your doctor determine if your liver dysfunction is due to blockage of the common bile duct, the tube that carries bile from the liver to the gallbladder.

ERCP uses an endoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube that allows your doctor to see into the stomach and inject contrasts, which make the bile ducts visible on an x-ray. By combining these endoscopy and radiography techniques, your doctor can determine if there is a blockage of the ducts. This may be the cause of your liver dysfunction.

What are the symptoms of liver damage?

Liver damage can be a serious problem and you should inform your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: Jaundice – yellow discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes, mucous membranes (wet areas around the eyes and mouth) due to high levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluid Severe tiredness Fever Abdominal pain, severe nausea and vomiting Bleeding that does not stop after a few minutes Any unusual swelling of the feet and legs or weight gain of more than 1 , 5 to 2.5 kg in a week.

What is the treatment for liver damage?

There is no treatment for liver damage once it occurs. The main approach is to stop any medication that is processed through the liver. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that help reduce symptoms of liver damage. For example, you may be prescribed a diuretic to reduce fluid buildup or swelling by urinating extra fluid. A frequently used diuretic is furosemide (Lasix®).

What else can I do about liver damage?

There are several substances to avoid if your liver is not working properly. The following substances are processed in the liver and may cause more effort or damage. Alcohol Paracetamol (Tylenol ® and component of Nyquil ®, Percocet ®, Excedrin ®, Darvocet ® and Vicodin ®) Medicines that have caused liver dysfunction in the past Medicines to treat high levels of cholesterol in the blood, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor®) or simvastatin (Zocor®).


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