Antituberculosis drugs and hepatotoxicity

Respirology. 2006 Nov;11(6):699-707. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2006.00941.x.


Isoniazid, pyrazinamide and rifampicin have hepatotoxic potential, and can lead to such reactions during antituberculosis chemotherapy. Most of the hepatotoxic reactions are dose-related; some are, however, caused by drug hypersensitivity. The immunogenetics of antituberculosis drug-induced hepatotoxicity, especially inclusive of acetylaor phenotype polymorphism, have been increasingly unravelled. Other principal clinical risk factors for hepatotoxicity are old age, malnutrition, alcoholism, HIV infection, as well as chronic hepatitis B and C infections. Drug-induced hepatic dysfunction usually occurs within the initial few weeks of the intensive phase of antituberculosis chemotherapy. Vigilant clinical (including patient education on symptoms of hepatitis) and biochemical monitoring are mandatory to improve the outcomes of patients with drug-induced hepatotoxicity during antituberculosis chemotherapy. Some fluoroquinolones like ofloxacin/levofloxacin may have a role in constituting non-hepatotoxic drug regimens for management of tuberculosis (TB) in the presence of hepatic dysfunction. Isoniazid administration is currently the standard therapy for latent TB infection. Rifamycins like rifampicin or rifapentine, alone or in combination with isoniazid, may also be considered as alternatives, pending accumulation of further clinical data. During treatment of latent TB infection, regular follow up is essential to ensure adherence to therapy and facilitate clinical monitoring for hepatic dysfunction. Monitoring of liver chemistry is also required for those patients at risk of drug-induced hepatotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / drug therapy
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / immunology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Immunogenetics
  • Isoniazid / adverse effects
  • Isoniazid / pharmacology
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Pyrazinamide / adverse effects
  • Pyrazinamide / pharmacology
  • Pyrazinamide / therapeutic use
  • Rifampin / adverse effects
  • Rifampin / pharmacology
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin