What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently non-viral hepatitis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with toxic hepatitis from an energy drink, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
What is Non-Viral Hepatitis?
Acute non-viral hepatitis, also known as toxic hepatitis, is a sudden inflammation in the liver due to exposure to poisonous substances in the bloodstream. Examples include alcohol, medications, vitamins, herbs, supplements, and chemicals.
How Do Toxins Damage the Liver?
Acute hepatitis damages hepatocytes, which make up 80% of the total mass of the liver. They are responsible for metabolizing, detoxifying, and inactivating toxins in the blood. Hepatocytes remove toxins from the blood and convert them into substances that can be excreted through the kidneys in urine, or through stools in bile.
Dietary Supplements and Hepatitis
Non-viral hepatitis is a growing problem due to the increasing number of dietary supplements with liver side effects. Herbal and dietary supplements were involved in 18% of drug-induced liver injuries between 2003 and 2011, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Energy Drinks and Non-Viral Hepatitis
Energy drinks like Monster Energy, Rockstar, and Red Bull contain high doses of B-vitamins like niacin (Vitamin B3), which is toxic to the liver. There have been multiple reports of people who developed non-viral hepatitis after consuming excessive amounts of niacin in energy drinks.
OxyElite Pro Hepatitis Outbreak
The weight-loss supplement OxyElite Pro was re-formulated with an illegal ingredient and caused an outbreak of non-viral hepatitis in 2013. Nearly 100 people were diagnosed with hepatitis, mostly in Hawaii. About half of the victims were hospitalized, three needed liver transplants, and one woman died.
Early Symptoms of Non-Viral Hepatitis
Symptoms usually appear within a few days or weeks, but it can take a few months. In the initial phase of hepatitis, symptoms may be mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain (upper-right side, usually not serious)
- Nausea (may have vomiting)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle or joint pain
- Weight loss
Late-Stage Symptoms of Hepatitis
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes)
- Dark-colored urine
- Light, pale-colored stools
- Liver enlargement or swelling
- Severe abdominal pain
- Changes in mental state (confusion, lethargy, dizziness)
- Hepatic encephalitis (swelling in the brain)
Complications of Non-Viral Hepatitis
Most healthy adults can recover from a mild case of non-viral hepatitis without suffering long-term complications. The liver can heal from minor injuries. However, scarring in the liver (cirrhosis or fibrosis) can occur when they underlying cause of inflammation is not treated.
- Fibrosis: Over time, chronic inflammation from untreated hepatitis can damage liver tissue and create scar tissue. A small amount of fibrosis is not life-threatening.
- Cirrhosis: Extensive fibrosis (scar tissue) that impairs liver function.
- Liver cancer: Chronic inflammation increases cell turnover in the liver, which increases the risk of cancerous DNA mutations.
- Liver failure: Although uncommon, hepatitis-induced liver failure occurs when the liver is too damaged to perform vital functions.
- Liver transplant: More than 70% of people who receive a liver transplant survive for more than one year. However, between 20-30% of people on the waiting list do not survive long enough to receive a transplant.
- Brain damage: Hepatic encephaloathy occurs when the liver is not able to remove toxins from the blood. It can cause confusion, personality changes, abnormal movements, slurred speech, forgetfulness, drowsiness, and other complications.
Treatment for Non-Viral Hepatitis
The first step in treatment for non-viral hepatitis is removing the source of the inflammation. Patients who have recently ingested a dietary supplement may need to have their stomach pumped (gastric lavage). They will need blood tests to check for elevated liver enzymes, which is a symptom of liver damage. Corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. If hepatitis leads to liver failure, a liver transplant is the only treatment option that can improve survival.
Do I have a Hepatitis Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently non-viral hepatitis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured by OxyElite Pro or another dietary supplement, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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