Treatment Options for Autoimmune Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a serious inflammatory condition that occurs with or without viral infection. Autoimmune hepatitis is a more specific condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy liver cells. It can lead to complications like liver failure or cirrhosis if not treated.

There are several treatment options for autoimmune hepatitis, some of which include immunosuppressant medications and certain lifestyle habits that promote healthy liver function. Autoimmune hepatitis can be controlled with the appropriate treatment.

What Is Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the liver. There are five types of viral hepatitis which include A, B, C, D, and E. Certain toxins like alcohol and some drugs may also cause hepatitis.

Autoimmune hepatitis is a less common type. The National Organization for Rare Disorders [1] records only 1 to 2 new cases per 100,000 people each year. Autoimmune hepatitis is more likely to occur in women and people who have autoimmune disorders than in men without autoimmune conditions.

The exact cause of the condition is still unknown; however, researchers suggest that the following three major key factors be traced to the roots of autoimmune hepatitis, they include:

  • Environmental triggers
  • An abnormal response of the body’s immune system
  • Genetic predisposition

Autoimmune hepatitis is unlike other autoimmune disorders [2]. It is a case where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells instead it fighting off infection. In this case, it focuses on the healthy cells in the liver, which then causes the liver tissue to get inflamed.

The inflammation could be mild or chronic. They may be short-term and, in this case, would not require treatment. But in rare, severe situations, it may lead to further complications like liver failure. Chronic inflammation would result in a liver injury that could last for months or years, which may progress to liver cirrhosis.

Immediate treatment is needed to prevent the affected tissue from getting scarred and causing a decline in liver function. Poor treatment and management of autoimmune hepatitis can lead to liver failure and the need for a liver transplant.