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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Autoimmune hepatitis


Other Names for this Disease
  • Autoimmune chronic hepatitis
  • AIH
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Treatment

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How might autoimmune hepatitis be treated?

Some people with mild forms of autoimmune hepatitis may not need to take medication. Doctors assess each patient individually to determine whether those with mild autoimmune hepatitis should undergo treatment.[1] Treatment works best when autoimmune hepatitis is diagnosed early. With proper treatment, autoimmune hepatitis can usually be controlled. In fact, studies show that sustained response to treatment stops the disease from getting worse and may reverse some of the damage.[1]

The primary treatment is medicine to suppress, or slow down, an overactive immune system.[1] Prednisone or other corticosteroids help reduce the inflammation.[1][2] Azathioprine and mercaptopurine are drugs used to treat other autoimmune disorders, which have shown to help patients with autoimmune hepatitis as well.[2]

In about seven out of 10 people, the disease goes into remission within 3 years of starting treatment. Remission occurs when symptoms disappear and lab tests show improvement in liver function. Some people can eventually stop treatment, although many will see the disease return. People who stop treatment must carefully monitor their condition and promptly report any new symptoms to their doctor. Treatment with low doses of prednisone or azathioprine may be necessary on and off for years, if not for life.[1]

People who do not respond to standard immune therapy or who have severe side effects may benefit from other immunosuppressive agents such as mycophenylate mofetil, cyclosporine, or tacrolimus. People who progress to end-stage liver disease—also called liver failure—or cirrhosis may need a liver transplant. Transplantation has a 1-year survival rate of 90 percent and a 5-year survival rate of 70 to 80 percent.[1]
Last updated: 6/8/2011

References
  1. Autoimmune Hepatitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). April 2008; http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/autoimmunehep/. Accessed 4/22/2011.
  2. Dugdale DC, Longstreth GF. Autoimmune hepatitis. MedlinePlus. November 23, 2010; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000245.htm. Accessed 4/22/2011.


Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Autoimmune hepatitis. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.
  • The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) provides access to reports, data, and analyses of research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including information on NIH expenditures and the results of NIH-supported research. Although these projects may not conduct studies on humans, you may want to contact the investigators to learn more. To search for studies, enter the disease name in the "Text Search" box. Then click "Submit Query".
Other Names for this Disease
  • Autoimmune chronic hepatitis
  • AIH
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.