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What are the Treatments for Liver Failure?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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The treatments used for liver failure depend on what caused the liver problem in the first place. When an overdose of acetaminophen or wild mushroom is at fault, doctors may use medications to treat the patient and reverse liver impairment. Sometimes medications are also used to treat problems caused by liver failure, such as fluid buildup on the brain and severe bleeding. Unfortunately, some cases of liver failure are not reversible, and a liver transplant is the only answer for the patient.

When a person is diagnosed with liver failure, doctors may use a range of treatments to deal with it. In a case of acute liver failure, for example, doctors may use medication to treat a patient who has taken too much acetaminophen. Likewise, doctors may use medications to help reverse liver failure that is caused by poison mushrooms or an infection.

Sometimes doctors also use medications to treat complications of liver failure. For example, some patients develop a buildup of fluid on the brain, and doctors may prescribe medications to counteract this effect. Likewise, doctors may prescribe medications to reduce bleeding if a patient develops ulcers in relation to liver impairment and experiences excessive bleeding. In some cases, however, a patient may need a blood transfusion as well.

Often, people develop chronic liver problems that don’t cause the organ to fail right away. Instead, their livers cease to function properly over a long period of time. In such a case, doctors often use medications as well. For example, a doctor may prescribe medications when a person has hepatitis C, a serious disease marked by liver inflammation, in an effort to minimize damage to the liver.

Like acute liver failure, chronic liver problems often require the treatment of complications related to long-term liver impairment. For example, medications may help manage toxin levels in a patient's blood stream. They may also help in the treatment of infections and prevention of fluid accumulation in the patient's abdominal region and legs. Medications may also be used to reduce blood pressure in the veins near the patient’s liver.

Unfortunately, some liver problems do not respond well enough to medical treatment, and sometimes the damage is too great to be reversed. When a case is severe, a patient’s only choice may be a liver transplant. In such a case, the patient’s damaged liver is removed from his body and replaced with a healthy donor liver.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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