Traditionally, drug-induced liver injury or DILI is a condition associated with drugs such as paracetamol, commonly used for headaches and pains. DILI can be expected and predictable in some cases of drugs like INH for tuberculosis or statins for lowering cholesterol. Usually DILI occurs during the course of a medication, but occasionally can happen after the discontinuation of a medication.
Liver injury is usually associated with high AST and ALT levels, but in some cases with elevated bilirubin or alkaline phosphatase. The diagnosis of the condition may be difficult and a high index of suspicion from the part of the physician is required.
What to keep in mind
There is a suggestion that DILI is increasing in frequency, maybe due to more new medicines in the market or more awareness by the physicians. It is important to remember that the frequency of DILI is generally low and thus may not be seen in the clinical trials leading to a drug approval.
DILI is a potentially serious condition. Sometimes just discontinuation of the offending drug is enough. Other times there may be need for hospitalization and close monitoring.