Other Drug Use and Their Effect on the Liver
All drugs exert strain on the liver and can suppress the immune
system. Combined with alcohol over a long period of time the
effects can be greatly increased, proving fatal to some.
Aspirin, Disprin, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen all have some impact
on the liver. Light use may be safe. Aspirin and Disprin should be
avoided if their are any problems with blood clotting disorders.
Paracetamol can be highly liver toxic and nor more than 4 tablets
should be taken a day. Ibuprofen is the safest for the liver, but
long term use can cause problems.
Cigarettes are carcinogenic and may be a co-factor in the
development of liver cancer. Smoking is also known to destroy some
vitamins such as B1, B6 and C. If you have poor circulation,
smoking may make it worse. Smoking may also increase depression by
reducing blood circulation to the brain.
Sleeping pills, benzodiazepines and barbituates place stress on
the liver, are mildly toxic and may accentuate liver damage in
people with hepatitis C. These are best avoided altogether.
Anti-depressants and other prescribed medications also place
stress on the liver and are mildly toxic, but are probably safe in
low doses. If your are on these and experience an increase in other
symptoms, inform your doctor immediately.
Marijuana is not thought to directly affect the liver, but does
suppress the immune system. Marijuana is also thought to be cancer
causing and may be more damaging than cigarettes. Marijuana may
also increase fatigue and any problems with mental function.
Steroids can cause liver damage in even healthy people. Steroids
also suppress the immune system. As steroids are heavily processed
by the liver, it is probably best to avoid them.
Opiates including Heroin, Morphine and Methadone, reduce the
effectiveness of the immune system and may accelerate the rate of
Methadone and hepatitis C:
If you're on a methadone program you may be able to access initial
hepatitis C antibody testing and ongoing liver function test
monitoring through your prescribing clinic. If the clinic does not
offer such services, ask for a referral to a GP who does. The
effects of methadone can alleviate possible painful symptoms of
hepatitis C. Although this may be helpful, it can camouflage early
signs of liver damage (if it develops). Flu-like hepatitis C
symptoms may give the impression that you are on prescription
pills. If this causes problems with staff at the clinic, it may be
useful to remind them of the complicating effect of hepatitis C
symptoms. If you experience flu-like symptoms of hepatitis C, these
symptoms should not be misinterpreted as withdrawal symptoms from
opiates. People should be careful with methadone dosages and aware
of their real tolerance for drugs. This is especially important
when liver damage is severe.
Stimulants, including Amphetamines, Ecstasy and Cocaine,
directly affect the liver and suppress the immune system and are
also likely to increase the effect of hepatitis C on mental
Hallucinogens, Magic Mushrooms and LSD all affect the digestive
system and may place a heavy strain on the liver.
Amyl Nitrate is severely toxic to the immune system. It also
places stress on the heart, circulatory system and the liver.
Home | What is HCV | Transmission |
| Lab |
Links | Transplant |