Learn About Autoimmune Hepatitis

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.

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What are the alternative names for Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Lupoid hepatitis; Chronic active hepatitis

What are the causes of 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 of 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.

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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 also been shown to help people with autoimmune hepatitis.

Some people may need a liver transplant.

Who are the top Autoimmune Hepatitis Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Indiana University Health

IU Health Physicians Rare Liver Disease Program

550 University Blvd 
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Craig Lammert is a Gastroenterologist in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Lammert has been practicing medicine for over 15 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis. He is also highly rated in 15 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Autoimmune Hepatitis, Hepatitis, Primary Biliary Cholangitis, and Sclerosing Cholangitis. He is licensed to treat patients in Georgia, Minnesota, and Indiana. Dr. Lammert is currently accepting new patients.

Highly rated in
Internal Medicine

German Society For Internal Medicine

Hamburg, DE 20251

Ansgar Lohse is a Gastroenterologist and an Internal Medicine expert in Hamburg, Germany. Lohse is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis. They are also highly rated in 18 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Autoimmune Hepatitis, Hepatitis, Hepatitis E, and Cirrhosis.

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Highly rated in

Children's Liver Disease Foundation


Gideon Hirschfield is in United Kingdom. Hirschfield is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Autoimmune Hepatitis. He is also highly rated in 16 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Primary Biliary Cholangitis, Cholangitis, Sclerosing Cholangitis, and Autoimmune Hepatitis.

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 could require a liver transplant.

What are the possible complications of Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Complications may include:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Side effects from steroids and other medicines
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver failure
  • Bleeding from varices
  • Ascites
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
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?

In most cases, autoimmune hepatitis cannot be prevented. Knowing the risk factors may help you detect and treat the disease early.

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What are the latest Autoimmune Hepatitis Clinical Trials?
The Role of the Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms in Hepatocarcinogenesis in Cirrhotic Patients Infected With Chronic Hepatitis C Virus
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Repeatability and Reproducibility of Multiparametric MRI (LiverMultiScan)
What are the Latest Advances for Autoimmune Hepatitis?
Corticosteroid plus glycyrrhizin therapy for chronic drug- or herb-induced liver injury achieves biochemical and histological improvements: a randomised open-label trial.
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt in patients with autoimmune hepatitis-induced cirrhosis and variceal bleeding.
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First Results From a Propensity Matching Trial of Mycophenolate Mofetil vs. Azathioprine in Treatment-Naive AIH Patients.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : October 27, 2020
Published By : Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Czaja AJ. Autoimmune hepatitis.In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 90.

Pawlotsky J-M. Chronic viral and autoimmune hepatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 140.