What is Autoimmune Hepatitis?

According to Mayoclinic.org, autoimmune hepatitis is liver inflammation that occurs when your body’s immune system turns against liver cells. Like other forms of hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis is a serious liver condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and, eventually, liver failure. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks your own, healthy liver cells. It may be triggered by certain drugs, diseases, or toxins, although the cause is not entirely clear. The majority of people affected by autoimmune hepatitis are women (about 70 percent).


The symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis are the same as those caused by other forms of hepatitis. All forms of the disease cause feelings of fatigue and may lead to:

  • Jaundice
  • Enlarged Liver
  • Itching / Rashes
  • Joint Pain
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Spider Angiomas
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dark Urine
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Pale Stool

As the disease progresses, women may also experience the loss of their menstrual cycles. Other advanced symptoms include fluid in the abdomen and confusion.


Because autoimmune hepatitis is so similar to other forms of the disease, special tests are usually needed to properly diagnose this condition. Dr. Tabib may take a blood sample to check for certain antibodies, which can help him pin down the exact nature of your condition. If such antibodies are present, he will usually order a liver biopsy to confirm the findings. After taking a small sample of liver tissue, he can perform laboratory tests to evaluate your condition.


Early diagnosis is usually the key to a successful treatment plan for autoimmune hepatitis. When properly treated, the condition is usually quite manageable. In fact, about 70 percent of people receiving treatment see an easing of their symptoms within 2 years. The most common course of treatment is medication.

Prednisone a corticosteroid that can help you control your symptoms. Treatment periods usually last for a minimum of 18 to 24 months, with some people taking it for life. When taken long term, some people may experience diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cataracts, glaucoma, and weight gain.

Azathioprine is an immunosuppressant agent that may be used in conjunction with prednisone. When combined, it can help reduce the risk of side effects from prednisone. However, azathioprine can include difficulty fighting infections and nausea.

If either of these drugs proves ineffective, Dr. Tabib can prescribe other immunosuppressants including mycophenolate, cyclosporine and tacrolimus to help you control your symptoms.

Today, gastroenterology conditions can be treated effectively. We provide everyone a personalized gastroenterology treatment plan to meet your unique needs and improve your quality of life. Contact our gastroenterology and hepatology center to schedule a consolation with Los Angeles’ preferred Gastroenterologist– Dr. Tabib.

Dr. Tabib’s completed his postgraduate fellowship, residency, and internships at the UCLA/Cedar-Sinai Medical Center.

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Siamak Tabib, M.D., Inc.
8631 W 3rd St Suite 1015E,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

(310) 683-4911

    Voted Best Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles


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