6-Jun-14 12:30 PM  CST

Drug Notes: Drugs and the Liver

While taking certain prescription drugs and OTC drugs are important, careful attention should be paid to medications that can potentially cause liver problems, damage, or failure.  Sometimes liver problems can be acute or fatal. Patients should be aware of the need for liver-function tests and careful monitoring of certain medications that can affect the liver. Prescription drugs are not the only culprits of liver problems. Over-the-counter drugs can be just as harmful.

            John R. Senior, FDA gastrointestinal medical reviewer and consultant in hepatology, recently commented in an FDA Consumer Health Information publication. “Any drug may cause dangerous liver problems, but unfortunately, such problems only occur rarely. It is challenging to predict how drugs will affect the liver because each patient is different in how they respond to a given drug. Our goal is to prevent the toxicity of drugs,” said Senior.

            Identifying drugs that may affect the liver is not always an easy task. Pre clinical studies and clinical trials can help identify drugs that may be potentially harmful. In addition, reporting instances of drugs that have caused liver damage and problems are essential to identifying drug or supplement related liver problems. Pharmacy technicians can encourage patients to report drug related liver problems to the FDA so the agency will have a better understanding of what drugs cause liver issues. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of taking prescription drugs or OTC medications with their doctor to avoid liver problems





1. FDA Consumer Health Information Report. “Sometimes Drugs And The Liver Don’t Mix.” FDA.gov. Web. Date of Access: 2 June 2014. 

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Source: Jennifer S. O’Reilly  

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