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What is the damage does heroin do to the liver?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Shaym Puppala
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: HepatitisB& C common

Amongst heroin users, hepatitis b & c are common due to sharing needles.
Untreated, these viruses can slowly kill the liver -> cirrhosis/liver failure/liver cancer. Heroin is cut with other toxic substances, and these substances can affect a number of organs including liver, lungs (talc lung). Heroin is dangerous, and should not be used by anyone. Anyone addicted can seek help from his/her doctor.

In brief: HepatitisB& C common

Amongst heroin users, hepatitis b & c are common due to sharing needles.
Untreated, these viruses can slowly kill the liver -> cirrhosis/liver failure/liver cancer. Heroin is cut with other toxic substances, and these substances can affect a number of organs including liver, lungs (talc lung). Heroin is dangerous, and should not be used by anyone. Anyone addicted can seek help from his/her doctor.
Dr. Shaym Puppala
Dr. Shaym Puppala
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Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Addiction Medicine

In brief: It doesnt by itself

Opiates have little toxicity on the liver, heroin included.
However, since the main way heroin is used is by injection into veins, and since many addicts do not use clean needles/syringes and paraphernelia (spoons, cotton, water), or use somebody elses, hepatitis viruses (b and c mainly) are spread in this way. Hep c is the most common cause of cirrhosis in the us, hep b in rest of world.

In brief: It doesnt by itself

Opiates have little toxicity on the liver, heroin included.
However, since the main way heroin is used is by injection into veins, and since many addicts do not use clean needles/syringes and paraphernelia (spoons, cotton, water), or use somebody elses, hepatitis viruses (b and c mainly) are spread in this way. Hep c is the most common cause of cirrhosis in the us, hep b in rest of world.
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
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