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Acute liver failure secondary to the use of unmonitored drugs and herbal supplements: an underreported and serious issue.

Acute liver failure (ALF) is a potentially fatal illness marked by the abrupt development of jaundice, coagulopathy, and hepatic encephalopathy (HE) in persons having no previous history of hepatic disease. It is a relatively uncommon illness, having an incidence of 1 to 8 per million people. Hepatitis A, B, and E viruses have been documented as the most prevalent etiologies of acute liver failure in Pakistan and other developing nations. However, ALF may also occur secondary to toxicity caused by the unmonitored overdosing and toxicity of traditional medicines, herbal supplements, and alcohol. Similarly, in some instances, the etiology remains unknown. Herbal products, alternative, and complementary therapies are frequently practiced across the globe for treating various illnesses. In recent times, their use has gained much popularity. Indications and the use of these supplementary drugs vary significantly. The majority of these products have not gained approval from Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, the incidence of documented adverse effects linked to the usage of herbal products has increased recently, but still, these events are underreported, and the condition is known as drug-induced liver injury (DILI) and herb-induced liver injury (HILI). The estimated total herbal retail sales increased from $4230 million in 2000 to $6032 million in 2013, representing a total of 42 and 3.3% per annum increase. To reduce the occurrence of HILI and DILI, physicians in general practice settings should inquire about patients' understanding of potential toxicity with the consumption of hepatotoxic and herbal medicines.

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