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Intern Med. 1992 Feb;31(2):208-13.

Two fatal cases of hepatitis B virus carriers after corticosteroid therapy for bronchial asthma.

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Second Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Japan.


We report two hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers who had liver failure after withdrawal of corticosteroids (steroids) administered for treatment of serious asthmatic attacks. Liver functions deteriorated 1 to 2 wk after withdrawal of the steroid therapy and liver failure occurred. Steroid readministration and intensive therapy for liver failure did not prevent death. An excessive immune response provoked by steroid withdrawal and decreased reserve capacity due to underlying chronic liver disease were thought to be factors in the liver failure. Caution must be exercised in the administration of steroids to patients with underlying chronic HBV infection to prevent exacerbation of hepatitis. Prompt readministration of steroids is indicated if evidence of liver failure develops.

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