INTRODUCTION:Idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is the second leading cause of acute liver failure (ALF) in the United States. Our study aims were to characterize secular trends in the implicated agents, clinical features, and outcomes of adults with DILI ALF over a 20-year period.METHODS:Among 2,332 patients with ALF enrolled in the ALF Study Group registry, 277 (11.9%) were adjudicated as idiosyncratic DILI ALF (INR ≥ 1.5 and hepatic encephalopathy) through expert opinion. The 155 cases in era 1 (January 20, 1998-January 20, 2008) were compared with the 122 cases in era 2 (January 21, 2008-January 20, 2018).RESULTS:Among 277 cases of DILI ALF, 97 different agents, alone or in combination, were implicated: antimicrobials, n = 118 (43%); herbal/dietary supplements (HDS), n = 42 (15%); central nervous system agents/illicit substances, n = 37 (13%); oncologic/biologic agents, n = 29 (10%); and other, n = 51 (18%). Significant trends over time included (i) an increase in HDS DILI ALF (9.7% vs 22%, P < 0.01) and decrease in antimicrobial-induced DILI ALF (45.8% vs. 38.5%, P = 0.03) and (ii) improved overall transplant-free survival (23.5%-38.7%, P < 0.01) while the number of patients transplanted declined (46.4% vs 33.6%, P < 0.03).DISCUSSION:DILI ALF in North America is evolving, with HDS cases rising and other categories of suspect drugs declining. The reasons for a significant increase in transplant-free survival and reduced need for liver transplantation over time remain unclear but may be due to improvements in critical care, increased NAC utilization, and improved patient prognostication.
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