In this narrative review, we analyze pre-registration and post-marketing data concerning hepatotoxicity of all disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) available for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, including beta interferon, glatiramer acetate, fingolimod, teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate, cladribine, natalizumab, alemtuzumab, and ocrelizumab. We review the proposed causal mechanisms described in the literature and we also address issues like use of DMTs in patients with viral hepatitis or liver cirrhosis. Most data emerged in the post-marketing phase by reports to national pharmacovigilance agencies and published case reports or case series. Serious liver adverse events are rare, but exact incidence is largely unknown, as are predictive factors. Unfortunately, none of the DMTs currently available for the treatment of multiple sclerosis is free of potential hepatic toxic effects. Cases of acute liver failure have been reported for beta-interferon, fingolimod, natalizumab, alemtuzumab, and ocrelizumab by different mechanisms (idiosyncratic reaction, autoimmune hepatitis, or viral reactivation). Patients with multiple sclerosis should be informed about possible hepatic side effects of their treatment. Most cases of liver injury are idiosyncratic and unpredictable. The specific monitoring schedule for each DMT has been reviewed and the clinician should be ready to recognize clinical symptoms suggestive for liver injury. Not all DMTs are indicated in cirrhotic patients. For some DMTs, screening for hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus is required before starting treatment and a monitoring or antiviral prophylaxis schedule has been established. Beta interferon, glatiramer acetate, natalizumab, and alemtuzumab are relatively contraindicated in autoimmune hepatitis due to the risk of disease exacerbation.Plain Language Summary Many disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are approved for multiple sclerosis treatment, but liver injury is a concern. Patients can experience transaminase elevation during DMT treatment, and in rare cases, idiosyncratic and unpredictable acute liver failure. Currently, it is not possible to predict or prevent serious liver-related adverse events. Furthermore, autoimmune hepatitis and viral reactivation can also occur during DMT treatments. Since adverse events are greatly underreported, it is important to report cases of serious liver-related adverse events in the literature with adequate causality documentation to better understand the liver safety profiles of DMTs.
- liver injury, multiple sclerosis, disease-modifying therapies