Hepatotoxicity implies chemical-induced liver damage. The liver plays an essential role in transforming and clearing chemicals and is susceptible to the toxicity from these agents. Certain drugs when taken in overdoses may injure the organ. Other chemicals such as those used in laboratories and industries, natural chemicals (e.g. microcystins) and herbal remedies can also cause hepatotoxicity. Chemicals inducing liver injury are called hepatotoxins.


1. Acute hepatotoxicity, caused by excessively exposed to hepatotoxins at one time.
2. Chronic hepatotoxicity, caused by long-term exposed to small-dose hepatotoxins.


It is difficult in clinical practice due to lack of reliable markers. Many other conditions lead to similar clinical as well as pathological picture. In order to diagnose hepatotoxicity, a causal relationship between the use of the toxin or drug and subsequent liver damage has to be established. Physicians focus on the presence or absence of similarity between the biochemical profile of the patient and known biochemical profile of the suspected toxicity.


Generally, liver function will become normal if the offending drug is stopped early. Additionally, the patient may require supportive treatment.