There are more than hundred kinds of liver diseases. Some common liver diseases are as follows- Fasciollasis which is a parasitic infection of the liver. Several drugs are effective for this disease. The drug of choice for treating Fasciollasis is triclabendazole. Bithionol is also used a successful treatment. Hepatitis is the inflammation of liver tissue caused by various viruses (viral hepatitis), by liver toxins (alcoholic hepatitis), autoimmunity (autoimmune hepatitis) or hereditary conditions. Hepatitis A does not usually progress to chronic state and rarely requires hospitalization. Hepatitis B can be acute and chronic. Here patients are treated with antiviral therapy. Injectable interferon alpha was the first approved therapy for chronic hepatitis B. there are some other medications too for chronic Hepatitis B. Hepatitis C is much more likely to pass to a chronic state. The ultimate aim of treating Hepatitis C is prevention of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis D is difficult to treat. Effective treatments too are lacking. Hepatitis E is similar to Hepatitis A and its treatment includes rest and ensuring adequate nutrition and hydration. In case of alcoholic hepatitis the first line treatment is treatment of alcoholism. But a severe case of alcoholic hepatitis is difficult to treat. Alcoholic liver disease is the hepatic manifestation of alcohol over consumption including fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and chronic hepatitis with liver fibrosis or cirrhosis. Most important part of the treatment is stop the intake of alcohol. In case of liver cirrhosis mostly transplantation is th only definitive therapy. Cirrhosis is actually the formation of fibrous tissue in place of liver cells due to variety of causes. Cirrhosis causes chronic liver failure. Fatty liver disease (hepatic steatosis) is a condition where large vacuoles of triglyceride fat accumulates. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the disease. Gilbert’s syndrome is a genetic disorder. Typically no treatment is needed but if jaundice is significant phenobarbital may be used.
For the treatment of various liver diseases a number of different treatments are available. Triclabendazole is used for the treatment of Fascioliasis. The drug works by preventing the polymerization of the molecule tubulin. Nitazoxanide is effective in trails but is not currently recommended. Treatment for Hepatitis A and hepatitis E is generally supportive and includes procedures like providing of intravenous hydration and maintaining adequate nutrition. This disease rearely requires hospitalization. In severe acute cases of Hepatitis B patients are treated with antiviral therapy, with nucleoside analogues such as entecavir or tenofovir. Experts recommend reserving treatment for severe acute cases and not mild to moderate. chronic hepatitis B aims to control viral replication. Treatments includes Pegylated interferon which is dosed once a week. Lamivudine is used in areas where newer agent have not been approved or are too costly. Entecavir is safe and well tolerated drug and is a first line treatment choice. Currently used first line treatments include PEG IFN, Entecavir and Tenofovir. Hepatitis C treatment includes prevention of hepatocellular carcinoma and the best way to reduce long term risk of HCC is to achieve sustained virological response. Currently available treatments include PEG IFN, Ribavirin. In high resource countries direct acting antiviral agents are used which targets proteins responsible for viral replication. Hepatitis D is difficult to treat. Inferno Alpha has proven effective at inhibiting viral activity but temporarily. Hospitalization may be required in case of severe cases of Hepatitis E. Alcoholic hepatitis treatment includes pentoxifylline, corticosteroids etc. Treatment of alcoholic liver disease include Sylimarin but with ambiguous result. In case of serious cases of fatty liver disease insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia , and those that reduce weight are beneficial to liver. For patients having non-alcoholic steatohepatitis there are no available therapies. Damage from Cirrhosis cannot be reversed but further progression can only be delayed and complications can be reduced. A healthy diet is encouraged. Some convetional medicines are Corticosteroids and Ursodiol. Wilon’s disease is treated with chelation therapy. Liver transplantation becomes necessary if liver damage cannot be controlled.
In case of transplantation there are some criterias which are considered for the safety of the patients. Physical criterias and a solid support system before the surgery are very important factors. If any one is undergoing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, right upper quadrant abdominal pain, jaundice, fatigue, weakness and weight loss then it is better to check whether these are indicating towards liver diseases.
As there are many side effects of some drugs used for the treatment so it will be safe to check the eligibility before starting any treatment. Thus, it is advisable to consult a doctor for safety.
Common side effects of the drug Entecavir used for treating Hepatitis B are headache, nausea, high blood sugar and decreased kidney function. Severe side effects include enlargement of liver and high blood lactate levels. Tenofovir used to treat chronic hepatitis B has side effects like depression, rash, diarrhoea, weakness, pain and headache. Use of corticosteroids may be severe in some cases like it can cause anxiety, depression, can also cause sodium retention. Side effects of pentoxifylline which is used to treat alcoholic hepatitis are- belching, bloating, stomach discomfort, indigestion, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, flushing. Chelation therapy too has some side effects which are- dehydration, low blood calcium, harm to kidneys and lowered levels of dietary elements, etc.
There some after treatment guidelines that needed to be followed. After a patient has completed his/her treatment for Hepatitis C infection, the patient will require blood tests and doctor visits three to six months post-treatments. In case of cirrhosis a patient is generally taken care of by the liver specialist for a long term. Even if the patient is devoid of Hepatitis C infection, he/she will likely be monitored with some tests like blood test, imaging tests and upper endoscopy tests. If after completion of treatment virus remains, the patient needs to take a break and will be under watchful waiting and will be retreated if it is an option in future. It is instructed not to consume alcohol and stop smoking. Nicotine can make it more difficult to manage hepatitis B. many follow-up visits will be needed. After a liver transplant medicines are given like antimicrobial medicines, antirejection medicines, immune globin and steroid medicines. Maintaining a healthy weight is required and even some patients are given physical therapies. If a patient wants to become pregnant, it will be safe to wait for at least two years. Yearly skin exam is also necessary.
Different diseases of liver have different recovery time. Like for example in case of liver cirrhosis which is an end stage of liver, is mostly irreversible. And liver transplantation is the only therapy in that case. In rare cases, liver cirrhosis is reversible. In healthy patients (with Hepatitis B), 95-99 percent recover with no long lasting effects. Age and comorbid conditions can result in prolonged and severe illness. If a patient has clinical signs of ascites, peripheral edema, low serum albumin, etc, then they may require hospitalization. In many cases the treatment is curative but some therapies only aim to prevent further progression of diseases, reduce the symptoms of diseases or reverse the damage already done. So, treatment duration will vary based upon the disease and age and other health conditions of the patients.
Cost of treatment will depend on the health condition of the concerned patient. Liver transplantation is costly as it may amount to some lakhs. There are different kinds of kidney diseases and each require different treatment for different duration. Thus cost of treatment will also vary in each case.
Permanency of results depend on the disease. There remains a risk of rejection of the new organ in case of transplantations and patients may need to take immunosuppressive medications for the rest of their lives. Treatment of Hepatitis A in most cases are permanent. So is Hepatitis E treatment. In case of severe ailment hospitalization may be required and duration of treatment may get stretched.
Alternative treatments include variety of treatments. One of them is the ayurvedic treatment. Indian Echinacea, Yakrit Plihantak Churna improves liver function, Phyllanthus Niruri is a liver cleanser and liver detox capsules. Amla has liver protection properties. Licorice can cure ailments like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Amrith is known to clear toxin from the liver and strengthens its function. Some studies have shown that turmeric for its antiviral properties can be used prevent multiplication of viruses causing Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. certain vegetables help liver secrete greater concentrations of important enzymes. Diet restrictions and life style modifications and de-addictions are some basic requirements to prevent and treat liver diseases.