A recent study published in the journal Gastroenterology has shown that of all types of prescription drugs, antibiotics are the ones most likely to cause liver damage.  Diabetics are more likely to develop liver damage than people with a normal blood sugar level.

In most cases liver damage can be assessed with a simple blood test called a liver function test.  This test measures levels of 4 different enzymes present in liver cells.  These enzymes are:

  • AST (aspartate aminotransferase).  The normal range is 5-45 U/L
  • ALT (alanine aminotransferase).  The normal range is 5-45 U/L
  • AP (alkaline phosphatase).  The normal range is 30-120 U/L.  AP is sometimes raised in non-liver related conditions.
  • GGT (gamma glutamyl transpeptidase).  The normal range is 5-35 U/L

These enzymes belong in your liver cells, where they carry out a range of important functions.  If your liver cells become damaged, the enzymes leak into your bloodstream and give an elevated reading on a blood test.

If you have recently finished a course of antibiotics, or you have been taking them long term, it is vitally important to ask your doctor for a liver function test to check on the health of your liver.

Besides antibiotics, a number of other medications also have the potential to cause liver inflammation; these include:

  • Anticonvulsants, such as drugs used to treat epilepsy.
  • Oral antifungal medication.
  • Cholesterol lowering drugs called statins.
  • Acetaminophen (paracetamol).
  • Lithium
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane or Roaccutane) used to treat severe acne.

Taking one of these medications places you at increased risk of liver injury; however taking two or more of these medications at the same time increases the risk substantially.

Ideally you would not need to take these medications at all, or for long because you maintain a healthy lifestyle.  However, unfortunately sometimes it is unavoidable and you must take one or more of these medications.  You can reduce the risk of your liver being harmed by following an appropriate liver friendly diet, such as found in The Liver Cleansing Diet book. My Liver Tonic is also available to support liver health.


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