Munson Health
 
Medications for Cirrhosis

Back to Document

by Ronnenberg A
 
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Although cirrhosis cannot be cured, your doctor may prescribe several medications to treat your cirrhosis. These drugs may help control the cause of the cirrhosis and prevent additional liver damage. Or they may be aimed at treating symptoms and complications.

Prescription Medications

Medications to Treat the Causes of Cirrhosis
  • Disulfiram
  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Prednisone
  • Prednisone and Azathioprine
  • Penicillamine
  • Trientine
  • Deferoxamine
Medications to Treat the Complications of Cirrhosis
  • Phytonadione
  • Bumetanide
  • Furosemide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Chlorothiazide
  • Amiloride
  • Triamterene
  • Spironolactone
  • Octreotide
  • Atenolol
  • Metoprolol
  • Nadolol
  • Propranolol
  • Timolol
  • Beta-galactosidofructose

Over-the-Counter Medications

Prescription Medications

Medications to Treat the Causes of Cirrhosis
  Metal Chelating Agents
Common names include:
  • Penicillamine
  • Trientine
  • Deferoxamine
Metal chelating agents are drugs that draw toxic metals from the bloodstream so that the body can pass them more effectively in urine or feces. Chelating agents are used to rid the body of excess copper in Wilsons disease or excess iron in hemochromatosis. Both of these rare inherited diseases can produce liver damage resulting in cirrhosis.
Penicillamine and trientine are used to treat Wilson's disease. Deferoxamine is used to treat iron overload associated with hemochromatosis. It is provided as an injection. Chelating agents are very powerful drugs that can have important, serious side effects. Be sure to report these to your healthcare provider.
Possible side effects associated with chelating agents include:
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Skin rash
  • Blurred vision or other problems with vision
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or rapid breathing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Medications to Treat the Complications of Cirrhosis
 

References


Cales P, Masliah C, Bernard B, et al. Early Administration of Vapreotide for variceal Bleeding in Patients with Cirrhosis. New E J Med. 2001;344:23-28 .


Cirrhosis. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/cirrhosis. Updated December 3, 2012. Accessed February 27, 2014.


Cirrhosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/cirrhosis/index.aspx. Updated February 21, 2012. Accessed February 27, 2014.


Cirrhosis of the liver. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 3, 2013. Accessed February 27, 2014.


Heidelbaugh JJ, Sherbondy M. Cirrhosis and Chronic Liver Failure: Part II. Complications and Treatment. Am Fam Phys. 2006;74:767-76.


Peginterferon alfa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 10, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2014.


Tenofovir. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed February 27, 2014.

 

Revision Information