A free source of evidence-based information for healthcare professionals and for researchers studying liver injury associated with prescription and over the counter drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements is now available . LiverTox at www.livertox.nih.gov is a searchable database with information on about 700 medications available in the U.S. by prescription or over the counter. Over the next few years, another 300 drugs will be added.
Drug-induced liver injury is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. accounting for at least half of the cases. It can occur at all ages, in men and women, and in all races and ethnic groups. Drug-induced liver disease is more likely to occur among older adults because they tend to take more medications than younger people.
Some drugs directly damage the liver, while others cause damage indirectly or by an allergic reaction. It is important in managing drug-induced liver injuries to identify the drug that is causing the problem and take appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce damage to the liver.
“Because drug-induced liver disease is not a single common disease, it is very difficult to diagnose with each drug causing a somewhat different pattern of liver damage,” said Jay H. Hoofnagle, M.D., the major creator of LiverTox and Director of the Liver Disease Research Branch at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The LiverTox database offers:
· An overview of drug-induced liver injury, including diagnostic criteria, the role of liver biopsy, and descriptions of different clinical patterns and standard definitions
· A detailed report on each drug, including background, case study, product package insert, chemical makeup and structure, dose recommendations, and references with links
· An interactive section, allowing users to report cases of drug-induced liver injury to the LiverTox website. Reports will be automatically forwarded to FDA’s MedWatch program where FDA will use the information to monitor product safety
“LiverTox is the result of a significant scientific collaboration between the national and international clinical and research communities, the NIDDK and NLM”, said Steven Phillips, M.D, Co-Sponsor of LiverTox and Director of NLM’s Division of specialized Information Services. I hope the LiverTox model can be used to create a new suite of databases that can identify drug-induced injury to other organs such as the heart, kidney, and lung.”