Clinical characteristics and outcomes of drug-induced liver injury in Taiwan: With emphasis on the impact of chronic hepatitis B infection

J Chin Med Assoc. 2022 Mar 1;85(3):286-294. doi: 10.1097/JCMA.0000000000000648.


Background: Whether hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can affect the outcomes of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is controversial. This study aimed to evaluate the characteristics and outcomes of DILI in Taiwan, with an emphasis on the impact of HBV infection.

Methods: We prospectively recruited patients with DILI from multiple centers in Taiwan from 2010 to 2018.

Results: A total of 1,014 patients were enrolled. The leading culprit drug category was antimicrobials (481, 47.4%), followed by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, and statins. Among the antimicrobials, antituberculosis agents were most likely to induce liver injury (257, 25.3%), followed by antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents. The liver-related mortality rate was 8.2% (83/1,014). The patients who died had higher rates of hepatocellular-type liver injury, elevated liver biochemical tests, preexisting liver cirrhosis, jaundice, chronic HBV infection, and antituberculosis drug-induced liver injury (ATDILI) than the survivors. A total of 131 patients (12.9%) with DILI were HBV carriers, of whom 23 (17.6%) died of hepatic failure. The rate of HBV-DNA > 2000 IU/mL was higher in the patients who died (47.8% vs. 26.9%, p = 0.047) than in the survivors. After adjusting for possible risk factors, active HBV infection with HBV-DNA > 2000 IU/mL was the most significant risk factor for liver-related mortality (adjusted HR, 4.40, 95% CI, 2.31%-8.38%, p < 0.001). The other independent risk factors for mortality were ATDILI and albumin-bilirubin (ALBI) score (adjusted HR, 1.25 and 4.09, respectively, p < 0.003).

Conclusion: Antituberculosis agents were the leading cause of DILI in Taiwanese, and they were associated with poorer outcomes than other drug categories. Active HBV infection, ATDILI and ALBI score were independent risk factors for fatal DILI. Close monitoring of liver tests and timely antiviral therapy should be implemented in HBV carriers during the administration of high-risk drugs, such as antituberculosis agents.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects
  • Bilirubin
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / drug therapy
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / etiology
  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis B* / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic* / complications
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Bilirubin