Autoimmune Hepatitis

What is the Outcome During/After Treatment?

In about 7 out of 10 individuals, the disease goes into remission within 3 years of starting treatment. Some people can eventually discontinue treatment although others will see symptoms return. Because autoimmune hepatitis cannot be cured, most people need to continue taking prednisone for years and sometimes for life. Unfortunately, long term use of steroids may cause serious side effects such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, weight gain and decreased resistance to infection, therefore, other drugs may be necessary to treat the side effects.

Azathioprine can lower white blood cell counts and sometimes causes nausea and poor appetite. Rare side effects are allergic reaction, liver damage and pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas with severe stomach pain.

Mayo Clinic “Autoimmune Hepatitis” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autoimmune-hepatitis/DS00676/ Retrieved on February 17, 2011

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases “Autoimmune Hepatitis” http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/autoimmunehep/ Retrieved on February 17, 2011

Palmer, M.D., Melissa. Dr. Melissa Palmer’s Guide to Hepatitis & Liver Disease. New York: Avery Trade, 2004.

Worman, MD Howard J. The Liver Disorders and Hepatitis Sourcebook. McGraw-Hill, 2006

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