Toxic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver in reaction to certain substances like alcohol, chemicals, drugs or nutritional supplements. It may also develop when you take too much of a prescription or over-the-counter medication. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, jaundice, abdominal pain etc. It is estimated that around 15-20% of people living with chronic hepatitis in Australia have not yet been diagnosed. Most cases of the disease go unreported as the symptoms tend to reduce once the exposure to toxin is stopped.
Treatment includes avoiding exposure to the suspected toxin or chemical. If the liver damage was caused by an overdose of acetaminophen, acetylcysteine should be administered within 16 hours. But toxic hepatitis can permanently damage your liver, leading to irreversible scarring of liver tissue (cirrhosis) and in some cases to liver failure. The patients are advised not to use more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter medicines containing acetaminophen and limit the consumption of alcohol.