Scientists develop medicines to help, not harm, your body. Yet, many prescribed and over-the-counter medications can cause serious injury to the liver. Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) accounts for 10 percent of all cases of acute hepatitis every year. Furthermore, it is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States. A recent study notes that DILI is the most frequent reason that companies withdraw medications from the marketplace. With 55 percent of Americans regularly taking an average of four prescribed pills a day, understanding the dangers of drug-induced liver injuries is more important than ever.
Injury to the liver can result from physician-prescribed drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs, hormones, illicit (recreational) drugs, and environmental toxins.
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, weighing an average of three pounds. It is located in the right, upper abdomen, below the diaphragm.
Three key metabolic functions of the liver include:
- It converts the nutrients in our diets into substances the body can use
- The liver stores the substances for future use
- The liver supplies cells with the substances when needed
This vital organ also converts toxins into harmless substances or releases them from the body. Along with Vitamin K, the liver produces essential proteins that regulate blood clotting. The liver also destroys old and damaged blood cells.
Risk Factors for DILI
Adults are more at risk to develop a drug-induced liver injury than children. Women face a higher risk due to the fact they are generally smaller than men. Researchers believe two conditions predispose a patient to DILI: alcoholism and malnutrition. In addition, patients who overdose on acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also cause liver damage.
Why isn’t drug-induced liver injury caught earlier in the drug approval process? Before receiving FDA approval, fewer than 3,000 people receive the trial drug. The true scope of DILI isn’t known until the drug is widely available, making it difficult to gauge the danger of a drug before widespread use.
Types of DILI
Here are just a few conditions resulting from a drug-induced liver injury:
- Hepatitis (inflammation of liver cells)
- Fulminant hepatitis (severe, life-threatening liver failure)
- Necrosis (death of liver cells caused by severe hepatitis)
- Cirrhosis (advanced scarring of the liver)
- Blood clots in the veins of the liver
- Simultaneous diseases, like Hepatitis and Necrosis
- Cholestasis (decreased secretion and/or flow of bile)
- Steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver)
Physician-prescribed drugs or herbal supplements that damage the liver do so silently. Many patients with mild liver disease experience few or no symptoms. Nonspecific symptoms (ones seen in other diseases) include fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness, and mild abdominal pain. For those with more advanced liver diseases, symptoms may include jaundice (yellowing of the skin), itching, and easy bruising. Symptoms of severe, advanced liver disease include edema (swelling) and mental confusion. Vulnerability to bacterial infections and gastrointestinal bleeding are also possible symptoms of severe and advanced liver disease.
The National Institutes of Health provides a searchable, online database called LiverTox. Patients may search the database using the specific name of a drug, herb, or supplement or click through an alphabetical list. The LiverTox website also provides clinical studies and recent research focusing on drug-induced liver injuries. With more than 1,000 medications and herbal supplements implicated in the development of DILI, the database continues to grow as new medications join the list.
Why Choose Brauns Law, PC
At Brauns Law, PC, David Brauns can’t promise to make you feel better, but his professional representation does offer you peace of mind. If you are one of the millions of Americans taking prescribed medication, and/or herbal supplements or vitamins, and if you are experiencing liver disease symptoms, Brauns Law is here to help.
The rush to get new drugs into the marketplace is both understandable and frustrating. While many patients need fast relief and effective cures, patients should not suffer damaging side effects due to haste. If you or a loved one suffers from liver complications due to a drug-induced injury, don’t delay in seeking legal counsel. As your attorney, David Brauns goes to work immediately. He collects evidence and researches the lasting effects on your life—including loss of wages. By placing your case in his capable hands, you can focus on your health. Liver disease is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. Let David Brauns concentrate on fighting for your compensation. You concentrate on rest, treatment, and recovery.
A Highly Experienced Attorney
To obtain justice in your case, consult an experienced attorney. Do not allow attorneys representing big pharmaceutical companies or physicians’ offices intimidate you; David Brauns has successfully taken on these cases time and time again and knows how to fight for your right to compensation.
David Brauns works for you, and only you. His primary goal is to deliver the best possible service with the best possible result, in the quickest amount of time.
David Brauns proudly represents clients in Gwinnett County, Georgia and the surrounding areas. Scheduling a free consultation with attorney David Brauns is easy, and the first step in the right direction. Brauns Law works for a contingency fee—Brauns Law only gets paid if the firm recovers compensation for you. Contact us or call (404) 418-8244 to schedule your free consultation. You trusted your medical provider—now trust David Brauns to pursue justice for you.
Injuries due to a drug side effect that damages a vital organ are not fair; however, there’s no reason to go it alone. Contact Brauns Law, PC today to get the justice you deserve.