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Drug-induced liver injury in children

Amin, Mansi D.a,b; Harpavat, Sanjiva,b; Leung, Daniel H.a,b

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000264

Purpose of review Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is an underrecognized cause of pediatric liver disease, accounts for almost 20% of pediatric acute liver failure cases, and is a major reason for liver transplantation in the USA. This article reviews the pathogenesis of DILI, approach to diagnosis and management, and highlights recent pediatric DILI case series.

Recent findings Select individuals have an increased propensity to develop DILI. Known genetic polymorphisms of enzymes and host factors play an important role in medication management and influence the clinical outcome in 20–25% of all drug therapies. Children are more likely to have mitochondrial dysfunction from drugs, increasing their susceptibility to severe liver injury or acute liver failure. Antibiotics and central nervous system agents account for the majority of pediatric DILI in the West, although herbals are becoming more common.

Summary Clinical features of DILI vary and overlap so exclusion of other conditions, identification of latency period and risk factors, and use of a searchable database can aid evaluation. Treatment consists of cessation of the offending agent and supportive care. Areas needing further research include elucidating mechanisms, identifying at risk individuals, and therapeutic interventions.

aBaylor College of Medicine

bPediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to Daniel H. Leung, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Texas Children's Liver Center Medical Director, Viral Hepatitis Clinic, Houston, TX, USA. Tel: +1 832 822 3606; fax: +1 832 825 3633; e-mail:

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