Hepatotoxicity (from hepatic toxicity) implies chemical-driven liver damage. The liver plays a central role in transforming and clearing chemicals and is susceptible to the toxicity from these agents. Certain medicinal agents when taken in overdoses and sometimes even when introduced within therapeutic ranges may injure the organ. Other chemical agents such as those used in laboratories and industries, natural chemicals (e.g. microcystins) and herbal remedies can also induce hepatotoxicity. Chemicals that cause liver injury are called hepatotoxins.
More than 900 drugs have been implicated in causing liver injury and it is the most common reason for a drug to be withdrawn from the market. Chemicals often cause subclinical injury to liver which manifests only as abnormal liver enzyme tests. Drug induced liver injury is responsible for 5% of all hospital admissions and 50% of all acute liver failures.
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