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Tuberculosis and liver disease: management issues
Ujjwal Sonika, Premashis Kar
Department of Medicine, Maulana
Azad Medical College,
New Delhi – 110002, India

Corresponding Author
: Dr. Premashis Kar


Tuberculosis is one of the most common diseases in India and has attained epidemic proportions. Tuberculosis and liver are related in many ways. Liver disease can occur due to hepatic tuberculosis or the treatment with various anti-tubercular drugs may precipitate hepatic injury or patients with chronic liver disease may develop tuberculosis and pose special management problems. Tuberculosis per se can affect liver in three forms. The most common form is the diffuse hepatic involvement, seen along with pulmonary or miliary tuberculosis. The second is granulomatous hepatitis and the third, much rarer form presents as focal/local tuberculoma or abscess. Tubercular disease of liver occurring along with pulmonary involvement as in disseminated tuberculosis is treated with standard regimen for pulmonary tuberculosis. Granulomatous hepatitis and tubercular liver abscess are treated like any other extra-pulmonary tubercular lesions without any extra risk of hepatotoxicity by anti-tubercular drugs. Treatment of tuberculosis in patients who already have a chronic liver disease poses various clinical challenges. There is an increased risk of drug induced hepatitis in these patients and its implications are potentially more serious in these patients as their hepatic reserve is already depleted. However, hepatotoxic anti-tubercular drugs can be safely used in these patients if the number of drugs used is adjusted appropriately. Thus, the main principle is to closely monitor the patient for signs of worsening liver disease and to reduce the number of hepatotoxic drugs in the anti-tubercular regimen according to the severity of underlying liver disease.