What are the treatments for the disease?
Treatment for liver disease will include:
drinking extra fluids to prevent
avoiding unnecessary medications
eating a well balanced diet for liver
taking antinausea medications as needed
Further treatment will depend on the type and the extent of disease.
For example, treating hepatitis B,
hepatitis C, and hepatitis D may involve the use of medications such as the
antiviral medication alpha interferon. Other medications used to treat liver
disease may include ribavirin, lamivudine, steroids, and antibiotics.
To treat Wilson's disease, the
healthcare provider may prescribe trientine or penicillamine. If these
medications cannot be tolerated, the person may be asked to take zinc
Hemochromatosis is treated by removing
a pint of blood once a week for 1 to 2 years. This will effectively deplete the
Vitamin and mineral supplements are given to prevent complications from primary
biliary cirrhosis. These include vitamin A,
vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and calcium. Cholestyramine may be given to help relieve itching.
Biliary atresia may be treated with a
procedure called the Kasai surgery, a procedure in which the surgeon replaces the bile ducts
with part of the baby's intestine.
Acute fulminant hepatitis can cause life-threatening liver failure. This
requires a hospital stay and treatment for the bleeding disorder,
encephalopathy, and nutritional problems. Sometimes, the only effective
treatment for certain liver diseases is a
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects will depend on the treatments used for the liver
disease. Antibiotics may cause stomach upset or allergic reactions. Side effects of interferon include a flu-like
illness, with fever, and body aches.
A liver transplant can
cause many problems, including failure or rejection of the new liver. After a
liver transplant, a person will need to take powerful antirejection medications
for the rest of his or her life. Side effects of these medications increase the
person's risk for infections, certain
cancers, and other problems.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
What occurs after
treatment will depend on the type of liver disease and the response
to treatment. For example, people with hepatitis
A will not usually need medication after the disease has been
resolved. They can return to a normal lifestyle when symptoms are gone, even if
they still have some jaundice. A person with
hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or
hepatitis D will be monitored for side
effects and benefits during and after interferon treatment. Alpha interferon
treatment might be repeated if the disease flares up again. A person who has
received a liver transplant is checked
for further disease, as well as for function of the new liver.
How is the disease monitored?
Monitoring will depend on the
type of liver disease. Periodic visits to the healthcare provider and
liver function tests may be used to
monitor the disease and to see how the liver is working. Any new or worsening
symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider. The status of the liver
may require repeated liver biopsies.
Decisions for further treatment or liver transplantation are frequently made
based on these tests.