Autoimmune Hepatitis

Condition 101

What is the definition of Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Autoimmune hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. It occurs when immune cells mistake the liver's normal cells for harmful invaders and attack them.

What are the alternative names for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Lupoid hepatitis

What are the causes for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

This form of hepatitis is an autoimmune disease. The body's immune system cannot tell the difference between healthy body tissue and harmful, outside substances. The result is an immune response that destroys normal body tissues.

Liver inflammation, or hepatitis, may occur along with other autoimmune diseases. These include:

  • Graves disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Thyroiditis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Ulcerative colitis

Autoimmune hepatitis may occur in family members of people with autoimmune diseases. There may be a genetic cause.

This disease is most common in young girls and women.

What are the symptoms for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Pale or clay-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Abdominal distention

Absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) may also be a symptom.

What are the current treatments for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

You may need prednisone or other corticosteroid medicines to help reduce the inflammation. Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are drugs used to treat other autoimmune disorders. They have been shown to help people with autoimmune hepatitis, as well.

Some people may need a liver transplant.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

The outcome varies. Corticosteroid medicines may slow the progress of the disease. However, autoimmune hepatitis may advance to cirrhosis. This would require a liver transplant.

What are the possible complications for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Complications may include:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Side effects from steroids and other medicines
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver failure

When should I contact a medical professional for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis.

How do I prevent Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Autoimmune hepatitis cannot be prevented in most cases. Knowing the risk factors may help you detect and treat the disease early.


Czaja AJ. Autoimmune hepatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 90.

Pawlotsky J-M. Chronic viral and autoimmune hepatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 149.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
  • Condition: Autoimmune Hepatitis with COVID-19
  • Journal: Hepatology communications
  • Treatment Used: Immunosuppression
  • Number of Patients: 10
  • Published —
This study investigated the use of immunosuppression to treat patients with autoimmune hepatitis that also have a COVID-19 infection.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH)
  • Journal: Liver transplantation : official publication of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society
  • Treatment Used: Liver Transplantation (LT)
  • Number of Patients: 30970
  • Published —
This study analyzed long-term patient and graft survival after liver transplantation for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH-LT).
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Acne
  • Journal: Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy
  • Treatment Used: FMX-101
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
The study researched the use of FMX-101 in treating acne.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Genotype 1
  • Journal: Journal of viral hepatitis
  • Treatment Used: Elbasvir/Grazoprevir
  • Number of Patients: 700
  • Published —
This study evaluated he effectiveness and liver/renal safety of elbasvir/grazoprevir in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 5
  • Start Date: March 9, 2020
Abatacept for Treatment of Recurrent or de Novo Autoimmune Hepatitis
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Biological
  • Participants: 80
  • Start Date: February 15, 2018
A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study of the Safety and Efficacy of VAY736 in Autoimmune Hepatitis
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Other
  • Participants: 2500
  • Start Date: February 7, 2018
Canadian Network for Autoimmune Liver Disease