Is the drug you are taking liver toxic? Who knows.

A recent report suggests that liver toxicity has become a kind of catch all diagnosis which, at best, may be inaccurate and at worst may prevent the practitioner from looking for the real cause of illness (BMJ, 1999; 319: 1541).

Researchers examining reports of adverse drug reactions to the liver in the North of England found that of 138 reactions, only 52 could be called drug related; 65 were unrelated to the drug prescribed and 21 were of indeterminate cause.

Those liver problems which were unrelated to drug use such as the presence of a common bile duct stone, autoimmune hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, lymphoma and paracetamol overdose often went undiagnosed.

The cause cited was lack of education among doctors.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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