Researchers in Germany raised the question of whether a similar frequency might prevail in cases of assumed herb-induced liver injury.
First, the details.
- 23 articles comprised of 573 cases of initially suspected herb-induced liver injury were reviewed.
And, the results.
- Alternative causes were evident in 278 of 573 cases (49%) of assumed herb-induced liver injury.
- Hepatitis by various viruses (10%)
- Autoimmune diseases (10%)
- Nonalcoholic and alcoholic liver diseases (5%)
- Liver injury due to treatment with a drug or other herbal (44%)
- Liver involvement in infectious diseases (5%)
- Biliary and pancreatic diseases were frequent alternative diagnoses (12%), raising potential treatment problems.
- Other diagnoses were rare.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Thorough clinical evaluations and appropriate causality assessments [are needed] in future cases of suspected herb-induced liver injury.”
Even when herbal-related toxicity is suspected, a definitive diagnosis is difficult to establish without getting a detailed history of herbal use and proper analysis of the product or plant material.
Never be fooled into making a diagnosis involving herbals by default.
8/7/13 8:53 JR