Toxic hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver due to medication or exposure to toxic chemicals, drugs, pollutants and nutritional supplements. In some cases, toxic hepatitis develops within hours or days of exposure to a toxin. In other cases, it may take months of regular use before signs and symptoms of toxic hepatitis appear. Symptoms of toxic hepatitis include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, itching, abdominal pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, rash, weight loss and dark colored urine. Drug-induced liver injury has an estimated incidence of 10-15 per 10,000 to 100,000 persons exposed to prescription medications. It accounts for approximately 10 percent of all cases of acute hepatitis and it is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
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. IV fluid is recommended for people who experience extreme nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually go away within a few days or weeks. However, in severe cases, or if the condition was left untreated, toxic hepatitis can lead to irreversible liver failure and requires a liver transplant.