Health and MedicineMedicinesThese are the drugs that harm your liver

These are the drugs that harm your liver

Did you know that there are common medications and drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or birth control pills that can cause liver damage? We will discover why and what they are.

If there is a fundamental organ for life, which is responsible for and participates in more than 100 functions and which in fact tends to suffer more depending on the lifestyle or habits that we follow, that is the liver. It is the largest organ, and precisely one of the most important for its vital metabolic activity.

Moreover, the liver is responsible for performing unique and vital functions for life, among which functions as important and essential as the synthesis of plasmatic proteins stand out, it stores vitamins and glycogen, it produces urea from the nitrogen of amino acids, it stores and it releases sugar into the blood, synthesizes fatty acids and stores the fats provided by the food we eat, among others. But even if it is responsible for fat storage, there is a very common condition that is closely related, known by the name of fatty liver.

But it is also responsible for an equally fundamental function: the very important detoxifying function, eliminating from the blood the different substances that can be harmful and dangerous for our body, transforming them into other harmless substances.

Although the liver is precisely in charge of detoxifying our body that does not mean that it is a harmless job. Moreover, most of the drugs and medications that we consume regularly and every day can be harmful to the liver, causing damage and problems in this important organ.

In fact, did you know that there are more than 900 drugs that damage the liver? All these drugs, after consumption, tend to trigger hepatotoxicity, which can lead to hepatitis, which medically basically consists of inflammation of the liver (which can in turn be caused by other causes such as viruses, alcohol consumption and excess alcohol). Fats). This is what is known as toxic hepatitis or simply drug -induced hepatitis.

Knowing a little more about toxic hepatitis

Toxic hepatitis basically consists of inflammation of the liver as a result of the consumption of certain drugs and medications that damage the liver and that ultimately originate or cause its inflammation.

It is especially related to the consumption of drugs, although as we indicated it can also be caused by the consumption of substances or chemical products and by alcohol.

The reason is found precisely in one of the vital functions that the liver performs in our body: the detoxification process. And it is that  the liver works continuously eliminating most drugs and chemical products from the blood, so that the damage can occur from an allergic reaction, or as a consequence of a failure in the transformation chain due to a genetic defect of the substances or enzymes responsible for carrying out metabolism.

At this time, despite the liver’s great capacity for regeneration, constant exposure to this type of toxic substance can cause serious damage to the liver, in many cases irreversible.  And it is the point where that toxic substance accumulates in the liver and inflames it.

What medications cause liver damage?

Although it is true that very few drugs or medications damage the liver enough to cause symptoms, such as abdominal pain, jaundice or itching, the reality is that many of the drugs that we consume every day can affect the functionality of the liver and cause damage.

This is the case of paracetamol, especially when it is consumed in excess (when it exceeds 3 grams per day), commonly used to relieve pain associated with flu or colds, and which can cause serious liver damage, causing the appearance of acute hepatitis.

Antibiotics (including amoxicillin-clavulanate, erythromycin, etc.) can also cause liver damage and inflammation, as occurs with anti – inflammatory, among which we find widely, consumed drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. The same occurs with  acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), diclofenac, chlorpromazine, allopurinol or carbamazepine.

But there are also other common medications that can cause liver damage, and you probably don’t know it. This is the case of statins, which are drugs prescribed to lower high cholesterol levels. Or birth control pills, commonly consumed by many women every day.

In summary, these are some of the most consumed medications that can cause damage and inflammation in the liver:

  • Paracetamol: is a drug with analgesic and antipyretic action, useful to relieve pain in case of general malaise and muscle pain. It is widely used in case of flu and cold, especially when they do not cause inflammation. Also when there is a fever.
  • Anti- inflammatory: among them is the best known, ibuprofen, and also others such as naproxen sodium, among which we find antalgic. In the case of ibuprofen, for example, it is not only anti-inflammatory, but also analgesic.
  • Antibiotics: they are useful drugs to treat infections of bacterial origin (that is, caused specifically by bacteria).
  • Statins: Medications used to lower high cholesterol.
  • Birth control pills: drugs that help prevent pregnancy due to their content in certain hormones that prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries, preventing ovulation.

However, in most cases we must bear in mind that these types of substances cause liver damage not because their molecules are more harmful, but precisely because they are the most consumed drugs, thus increasing the probability of causing hepatotoxicity.

What to do to reduce liver damage from drug use?

It is vitally important to go to the doctor if, after taking any drug or medication, discomfort or symptoms arise such as general malaise, loss of appetite, tiredness and dark urine, and tell them what medication we have taken and which one has precisely caused that reaction.

On the other hand, there are also some useful tips that can be of great help when minimizing the possible damage that these types of drugs could cause the liver:

  • Avoid self-medication: It is essential to avoid consuming medications without proper prescription or medical advice.
  • If you already take prescription medications: Consult your doctor if you are going to start taking a new supplement or supplement.

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