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Can Drugs Cause Liver Disease?

Home » Blog » Can Drugs Cause Liver Disease?

The effects of drug abuse on the liver are well-known. Although many people think that liver disease is caused by alcohol abuse, drug addiction can also lead to liver damage.

Drug-induced liver disease is a condition that results from the use of prescription, illegal, and over-the-counter drugs. Our alcohol and drug treatment center in California answers questions such as “How do drugs affect the liver?” or “What are the dangers of abusing these substances?”

drugs and liver disease

How does the liver work?

The liver and kidneys are responsible for most drugs being eliminated. The liver, located on the right-hand side of the abdomen, is responsible for flushing out toxins and performing several other functions. A medically monitored detox can be beneficial for people who are struggling with drug abuse or alcohol use disorder. It can help the body flush out toxins and allow the liver to recover.

The liver performs some functions, including:

  • To aid digestion, secrete bile into the intestines
  • Purifying blood to remove harmful chemicals and toxins such as drugs or alcohol to prevent them from causing harm
  • Harmful chemicals are secreted into the stool, kidneys, and urine.
  • Albumin is a protein that helps in blood clotting and healing
  • Storing vitamins and minerals
  • Eliminating bacteria from your bloodstream

Drugs can adversely affect the liver, resulting in various diseases and even death. If a person is dependent on drugs, they may not be aware that they have liver problems.

Drugs and liver diseases

The liver’s primary job is to eliminate and disarm toxic chemicals and toxins from the body. An active substance use disorder would make the liver work harder than usual. Different forms of liver disease can be caused by drug abuse, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.

Hepatitis caused by drugs

Drug-induced liver inflammation refers to liver inflammation. Percocet and Vicodin are all possible drugs that can lead to hepatitis. Hepatitis is more common in those who take these drugs along with alcohol and binge drinking.

Drug-induced liver disease can be manifested as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pale stool
  • Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • Fatigue


Cirrhosis, a form of liver disease, causes scarring and loss of liver cells. Cirrhosis causes the body to become disarmed, making it more vulnerable to bacteria and other toxic substances that can lead to disease and death.

Cirrhosis can be characterized by:

  • Weakness
  • Appetite loss
  • Jaundice
  • Swelling of the legs, feet, abdomen, or legs
  • Vomiting blood
  • Varicose – Enlarged or swollen blood vessels
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy (prevents the liver from filtering toxic substances)
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome (kidney disease related to liver disease)
  • Hypersplenism (overactive liver)
  • Hepatopulmonary Syndrome (a form of lung disease that is caused by liver damage)
  • Cancer

People who abuse drugs and don’t receive treatment for their addiction are more at risk of developing liver disease. Hathaway Recovery treatment center Claremont offers a range of addiction treatments to help you or your loved one get clean.

Hathaway Recovery treatment center Claremont

Drugs And Liver Damage

There are two ways drugs can cause liver damage: direct and indirect (by becoming a dangerous chemical harmful to the liver).

Three types of liver toxicity can be used to measure liver damage:

  • Dose-dependent

If a sufficient amount of drugs is taken, this level of toxicity can lead to liver disease. Tylenol and any medication that contains acetaminophen are two examples of drugs that can cause dose-dependent toxicities.

  • Idiosyncratic

Drugs that cause idiosyncratic toxicities will only affect people with specific genes. These genes influence how drugs are broken down in the liver. This is the most common form of drug-induced liver disease. People often take multiple medications at once.

  • Drug allergy

The immune system’s attempt to fight off a drug can cause liver inflammation.

What Drugs are Harmful to the Liver

You may be surprised how many of the most commonly used drugs can cause liver disease. It doesn’t matter if someone abuses these drugs or uses them only as directed by their doctor. You should discuss a plan with your doctor.

There are some medications that can cause liver injury.

  • Amoxicillin – This antibiotic is used to treat throat, sinuses, and lungs infections. Amoxicillin liver damage may occur within minutes after the drug has been stopped.
  • Acetaminophen- This painkiller is often overlooked in how medications affect the liver. This over-the-counter pain medication is available as Tylenol. It can also be used to reduce fevers. Cold medicine also contains Acetaminophen. You should always read the ingredients of any drug you take if you have liver disease.
  • Anti-seizure medications – Many anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin, can cause liver injury or drug-induced liver failure. You should inform your doctor if you have any concerns or are at risk of developing liver disease.

It is important not to ignore the drug-induced liver injury. It is a serious threat that should be addressed to avoid poor kidney functions, disease, death, and damage.

Hathaway Recovery: Get the help you need

safely detox from alcohol and drugs

Answering the question “How do drugs affect the liver?” is important to avoid any negative effects on your physical health. Combining drug abuse with liver disease is common. It affects many people. If a person refuses to seek help, even after the negative effects of drug abuse are obvious, this is a major red flag. They may still take the drug even though they know it is harmful. This indicates they have a dependency.

Professional help is available for those who are suffering from addiction. This will allow you to avoid liver disease and other health consequences. To learn more, call our Hathaway Recovery center at (909) 973-3333 to learn how safely detox from alcohol and drugs.  Start your journey to recovery today!


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    Transition A.
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  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

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  • Hathaway Recovery is a very solid, very friendly place. My boyfriend decided to go here and has spent a significant amount of time at the recovery house. They are very good at bringing clients to meetings and on fun outings occasionally! Hathaway is committed to their clients’ recovery and their sobriety and to helping them in any way possible. They go above and beyond for the clients and I definitely would recommend considering Hathaway for your sobriety/recovery.

  • “There was no longer any doubt in my mind that I was in the right place for my drug abuse treatment, “Of all the rehabs I could have chosen, I am glad I picked The Hathaway Recovery Support hope respect and care is what i was offered thanks for everything Hathaway recovery you are the best

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    Hathaway Recovery is an exclusive addiction rehab treatment center in California offering healing recovery from all substances. We’re proud to provide a great combination for drug, alcohol, psychiatric and psychological recovery treatment backed by experts in the addiction treatment field. Our drug and alcohol rehab is built on the cornerstone of care and compassion and accommodates clients and their families from all backgrounds to educate, inform, and create change around substance use disorder. In a secluded mountain hill luxury resort, our facility offers a therapeutic environment and array of clinical modalities to help individuals and their families. Our staff are also multilingual to address the needs of clients from anywhere in the world.

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