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Alternative Names Return to topLupoid hepatitis
Definition Return to top
Autoimmune hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that occurs when immune cells mistake the liver's normal cells for harmful invaders and attack them.
Causes Return to top
This disease is associated with other autoimmune diseases, including:
Autoimmune hepatitis sometimes occurs in relatives of people with autoimmune diseases, which suggests that there is a genetic cause.
This disease is most common in young girls and women.
Symptoms Return to top
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease include absence of menstruation (amenorrhea).
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests associated with autoimmune hepatitis:
Treatment Return to top
Prednisone or other corticosteroid medications help reduce the inflammation. Azathioprine and mercaptopurine are drugs used to treat other autoimmune disorders. They have been shown to help patients with autoimmune hepatitis, as well.
Some patients may receive a liver transplant.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome varies. Corticosteroid therapy may slow the disease progression. However, autoimmune hepatitis may worsen to cirrhosis and require a liver transplant.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis.
Prevention Return to top
Autoimmune hepatitis is usually not preventable. Awareness of risk factors may allow early detection and treatment.
References Return to topLuxon BA. Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis. Gastroenterology Clinics. June 2008;37. Update Date: 2/21/2009 Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.