Other Conditions With Similar SymptomsThere are a number of conditions that have the same symptoms as autoimmune hepatitis. The healthcare provider will consider these conditions before diagnosing autoimmune hepatitis. Some of these conditions include:
- Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E
- Reactions to medicines, such as birth control pills, certain antibiotics, or acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
- Mononucleosis (mono)
- Infections caused by certain viruses, such as herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, or coxsackievirus
- Congestive heart failure
- Wilson's disease
- Liver cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus or SLE for short).
Treatment for Autoimmune HepatitisTreatment consists primarily of using medicine to suppress a person's overactive immune system. The corticosteroid prednisone is a common form of treatment. Another medicine that may be used to treat autoimmune hepatitis is azathioprine (Imuran®). Azathioprine is often prescribed in addition to prednisone to lower the dose of prednisone required. In more severe cases of autoimmune hepatitis, treatment options may include other immunosuppressive agents.
With proper treatment, autoimmune hepatitis can usually be controlled. In fact, recent studies show that sustained response to treatment not only stops the disease from getting worse, but may also actually reverse some of the damage it causes.