HC Deb 25 February 2003 vol 400 cc521-2W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of hepatoxicity have been reported in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years. [96175]

Ms Blears

Hepatoxicity may be caused by a number of external sources including the use or misuse of alcohol, certain drugs as well as infection and injury. The Department does not routinely collect figures on the number of cases of hepatoxicity reported in the United Kingdom.

Table 1 provides data on the number of admissions to national health service hospitals in England where the reason for admission was alcoholic liver failure or toxic liver disease in the years 1995–96 to 2001–02. These figures are given in accordance with the derivation of hepatoxicity by NHS clinical coders.

Table 1: Breakdown of hospital admissions related to alcoholic or toxic liver disease
Alcoholic liver failure Toxic liver disease
1995–96 19,058 652
1996–97 22,881 690
1997–98 27,083 757
1998–99 29,026 787
1999–2000 33,571 676
2000–01 36,923 749
2001–02 39,896 670

The Yellow Card Scheme is a scheme by which health professionals in the UK can report suspected adverse reactions to medicinal products. Data are colleted and reviewed by the Medices Control Agency, with independent advice from the Committee on Safety of Medicines. Approximately 18,000 reports of suspected adverse reactions to medicines are received through the scheme each year.

Table 2 provides a breakdown of the number of reports of hepatoxicity received in association with any medicine through the Yellow Card Scheme by year since 1993. These reports include all levels of severity of liver problems, from mild elevations of liver enzymes to liver failure. It is important to note that a report of suspected adverse reaction through the scheme does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the medicine.

Data from the Yellow Card Scheme cannot be used to calculate the incidence of medicine-related liver injury as not all adverse reaction to medicines are reported.

Table 2: Number of reports of hepatoxicity suspected to be due to medicines reported through the Yellow Card Scheme
Year received Number of reports
1993 671
1994 675
1995 723
1996 712
1997 770
1998 820
1999 847
2000 861
2001 900
2002 785

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