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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Mar;20(3):161-3. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e3282f2bbf7.

Herbal medicines in acute viral hepatitis: a ticket for more trouble.

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  • 1Hôpital Beaujon, Center of Digestive Tract Diseases, Clichy, France. jacques.bernuau@bjn.aphp.fr


The rapid aggravation of a patient affected by acute liver disease, including the occurrence of acute liver failure, a life-threatening complication, may be due in some cases to recently administered drugs or other xenibiotics. A previously healthy Indian man affected by acute hepatitis E developed acute liver failure after a 5-day treatment by herbal medicines. Pressure on health authorities and education of the general population should help to obviate such avoidable deaths. Physicians have the responsibility to convince their patients affected by acute liver disease not to take medicines for symptomatic relief, especially herbal medicines, up to recovery. The hypothesis is proposed that some of the fatal cases of acute hepatitis E in pregnant women, a common observation in India, could result from an earlier consumption of herbal medicines at the onset of the symptoms of acute hepatitis E.

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