Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Healthcare

Which Medicines Are Toxic To Liver?

See also

The liver is a marvelously sophisticated chemical laboratory, capable of carrying out thousands of chemical transformations on which the body depends. The liver produces important chemicals from scratch, modifies others to allow the body to use them better, and neutralizes an enormous range of toxins.

However, this last function of the liver, neutralizing toxins, is also the organ’s Achilles’ heel. The process of rendering toxins harmless to the body at large may bring harm to the liver itself.

Alcohol is the most common chemical responsible for toxic damage to the liver, causing fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis , and, potentially, cirrhosis of the liver . Exposure to industrial chemicals may harm the liver. Many prescription medications may damage the liver as well, including cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statin family and high-dose niacin (also used to reduce cholesterol levels.) The over-the-counter drug acetaminophen (Tylenol) is highly toxic to the liver when taken to excess. Finally, numerous natural herbs and supplements contain chemicals that may cause or accelerate harm to the liver. (See Herbs and Supplements to Use Only With Caution below.)

Chemicals aren’t the only source of harm to the liver. Viruses may infect it, causing viral hepatitis ; hepatitis C, in particular, may become chronic and gradually destroy the liver. In addition, during pregnancy , the liver may become backed up with bile, a condition called cholestasis of pregnancy.



  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    9 Photos