It is impossible for anyone to know everything about the medications we prescribe and about the herbs and supplements that patients take. Instead, we have to learn where and how to look things up. Here’s a tip about where to look up information about the risk of hepatotoxicity with medications, herbs, or supplements a patient is on—or, which we are considering for the patient.
The site LiverTox® is an online resource maintained by the National Institutes of Health. It provides “information on the diagnosis, cause, frequency, clinical patterns and management of liver injury attributable to prescription and nonprescription medications and selected herbal and dietary supplements.”
Some of the great things about this resource are:
– It is free
– The information provided on any one substance is brief—typically, 200 to 600 words
– It is frequently updated.
The LiverTox® website is particularly designed for clinicians like us—health care professionals who see patients
with drug-induced liver injury only rarely, for example, general practitioners and subspecialists in all areas of medicine (Serrano, 2014). This is not our specialty, so, we need a resource like LiverTox® where we can quickly find up-to-date and reliable information when we need it.
How to get to the LiverTox® site
To get to the site, you can use either of the two URLs below; they take you to the same place. The first one is, obviously, easier to remember, so remember this: livertox.nih.gov.
How to use the LiverTox® site
There are two ways to search the site to find information about any particular medication, herb, or supplement:
1. Type the name in the “Search this book” box
2. Browse the alphabetical list by clicking on the first letter of the name of the substance. For example, clicking on ‘R’ brings up a list of substances whose name starts with ‘R’. And, that list is arranged alphabetically.
Once we find the name of the substance about which we want information, we click on the name to go to the relevant information.
Hoofnagle JH, Serrano J, Knoben JE, Navarro VJ. LiverTox: a website on drug-induced liver injury. Hepatology. 2013 Mar;57(3):873-4. doi: 10.1002/hep.26175. PMID: 23456678; PMCID: PMC5044298.
Serrano J. LiverTox: An online information resource and a site for case report submission on drug-induced liver injury. Clin Liver Dis (Hoboken). 2014 Jul 25;4(1):22-25. doi: 10.1002/cld.388. PMID: 30992914; PMCID: PMC6448728.
Teschke R, Danan G. The LiverTox Paradox-Gaps between Promised Data and Reality Check. Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Sep 24;11(10):1754. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11101754. PMID: 34679453; PMCID: PMC8534640.
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Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided as general education for medical professionals. It is not intended or recommended for patients or other laypersons or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients must always consult a qualified health care professional regarding their diagnosis and treatment. Healthcare professionals should always check this website for the most recently updated information.