Many diseases and conditions can contribute to elevated liver enzymes. Your doctor determines the cause by reviewing your medications, your signs and symptoms and, in some cases, other tests and procedures.
More common causes of elevated liver enzymes include:
- Over-the-counter pain medications, particularly acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
- Certain prescription medications, including statin drugs used to control cholesterol
- Drinking alcohol
- Heart failure
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Other possible causes of elevated liver enzymes include:
- Alcoholic hepatitis (severe liver inflammation caused by excessive alcohol consumption)
- Autoimmune hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder)
- Celiac disease (small intestine damage caused by gluten)
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Hemochromatosis (too much iron stored in your body)
- Liver cancer
- Polymyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness)
- Sepsis (an overwhelming bloodstream infection that uses up neutrophils faster than they can be produced)
- Thyroid disorders
- Toxic hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by drugs or toxins)
- Wilson's disease (too much copper stored in your body)
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
March 05, 2020
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- Friedman LS. Approach to the patient with abnormal liver and biochemical function tests. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 17, 2020.
- Kwo PY, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Elevation of abnormal liver chemistries. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2017; doi:10.1038/ajg.2016.517.
- Lab Tests Online. Liver panel. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/liver-panel. Accessed Jan. 17, 2020.