Toxic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver in response to drugs, chemicals and circulating metabolites. Common chemicals that can cause liver damage include carbon tetrachloride, vinyl chloride, and a group of industrial chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls. Signs and symptoms of toxic hepatitis include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), itching, abdominal pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen, fatigue, loss of appetite. In Sweden, infection with hepatitis has been a notifiable disease since 1990, when diagnostic methods became available. During 1990-2006, 42,000 individuals (70% men) were diagnosed and reported. Approximately 6,000 of all notified individuals have died during the study period.
There is no treatment for most types of toxic hepatitis. If a person is diagnosed with this condition, the toxin should be discontinued immediately and avoided in the future. If symptoms are severe, the patient is advised to rest. IV fluid is recommended for people who experience extreme nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually go away within a few days or weeks. An individual needs to take extreme care when taking herbal supplements and sure to discuss the supplements with the physician before taking it. People working in the chemical industry need to be extra cautious when being exposed to chemicals.