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Guideline Summary
Guideline Title
Diagnosis and management of autoimmune hepatitis.
Bibliographic Source(s)
Manns MP, Czaja AJ, Gorham JD, Krawitt EL, Mieli-Vergani G, Vergani D, Vierling JM, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Diagnosis and management of autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatology. 2010 Jun;51(6):2193-213. [441 references] PubMed External Web Site Policy
Guideline Status

This is the current release of the guideline.

This guideline updates a previous version: Czaja AJ, Freese DK. Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatology 2002 Aug;36(2):479-97.

Scope

Disease/Condition(s)

Autoimmune hepatitis

Guideline Category
Diagnosis
Evaluation
Management
Treatment
Clinical Specialty
Allergy and Immunology
Family Practice
Gastroenterology
Internal Medicine
Pathology
Pediatrics
Intended Users
Physicians
Guideline Objective(s)

To provide a data-supported approach to the diagnosis and management of autoimmune hepatitis

Target Population

Individuals with autoimmune hepatitis

Interventions and Practices Considered

Diagnosis and Evaluation

  1. Evaluation for compatible clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory abnormalities, serological and histological findings, and other conditions that can cause chronic hepatitis
  2. Exclusion of other conditions that can cause chronic hepatitis
  3. Evaluation by diagnostic scoring systems; other serological markers (antibody to soluble liver antigen [anti-SLA] and atypical perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody [pANCA]); and exclusion of the autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy [APECED] syndrome, as indicated
  4. Exclusion of APECED syndrome by testing for typical mutations in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and multiple endocrine disorders
  5. Classification of autoimmune hepatitis as type 1 or type 2
  6. Consideration of autoimmune hepatitis in patients with hepatitis of undetermined cause
  7. Cholangiographic studies to exclude primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), as indicated

Treatment and Management

  1. Immunosuppressive treatment based on serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), serum gamma-globulin levels, and histological features
    • Prednisone or prednisolone with azathioprine (adults)
    • Prednisone with azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine (children)
    • Prednisone or prednisolone alone
  2. Monitoring for bone disease
  3. Adjunctive therapies for bone disease (weight bearing exercise program, vitamin D and calcium supplementation, bisphosphonates)
  4. Pretreatment vaccination against hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  5. Management of treatment side effects and risks, including during pregnancy
  6. Alternative drug therapies for suboptimal response (cyclosporine, tacrolimus, or mycophenolate mofetil)
  7. Hepatic ultrasonography to detect hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  8. Liver transplantation, management of recurrent disease after transplant with drug therapy and/or retransplantation in certain patients

Note: The following interventions and practices were considered but not recommended:

  • Immunosuppressive treatment in patients with minimal or no disease activity or inactive cirrhosis
  • Immunosuppressive treatment in patients with serious pre-existent comorbid conditions or previous known intolerances to prednisone, unless the disease is severe and progressive and adequate control measures for the comorbid conditions can be instituted
  • Azathioprine treatment in patients with a severe pretreatment cytopenia or known complete deficiency of thiopurine methyltransferase activity
Major Outcomes Considered
  • Sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests and scoring systems for autoimmune hepatitis
  • Rates of clinical, laboratory, and histologic remission
  • Severity of disease
  • Treatment efficacy
  • Treatment failure
  • Progression to cirrhosis
  • Relapse rates
  • Survival
  • Death from liver failure
  • Requirement of liver transplantation
  • Drug-related adverse effects and complications

Methodology

Methods Used to Collect/Select the Evidence
Searches of Electronic Databases
Description of Methods Used to Collect/Select the Evidence

These guidelines on autoimmune hepatitis are based on a formal review and analysis of the recently published world literature on the topic (Medline search).

Number of Source Documents

Not stated

Methods Used to Assess the Quality and Strength of the Evidence
Weighting According to a Rating Scheme (Scheme Given)
Rating Scheme for the Strength of the Evidence

Level of Evidence

Level A Data derived from multiple randomized clinical trials or meta-analyses

Level B Data derived from a single randomized trial, or nonrandomized studies

Level C Only consensus opinion of experts, case studies, or standard of care

Methods Used to Analyze the Evidence
Systematic Review
Description of the Methods Used to Analyze the Evidence

Not stated

Methods Used to Formulate the Recommendations
Expert Consensus
Description of Methods Used to Formulate the Recommendations

These guidelines are based on the following: (1) formal review and analysis of the recently published world literature on the topic (Medline search); (2) American College of Physicians Manual for Assessing Health Practices and Designing Practice Guidelines; (3) guideline policies, including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Policy on the Development and Use of Practice Guidelines and the American Gastroenterological Association Policy Statement on Guidelines; and (4) the experience of the authors in the specified topic.

Rating Scheme for the Strength of the Recommendations

Grading System for Recommendations

Class I Conditions for which there is evidence and/or general agreement that a given diagnostic evaluation, procedure, or treatment is beneficial, useful, and effective

Class II Conditions for which there is conflicting evidence and/or a divergence of opinion about the usefulness/efficacy of a diagnostic evaluation, procedure, or treatment

Class IIa Weight of evidence/opinion is in favor of usefulness/efficacy

Class IIb Usefulness/efficacy is less well established by evidence/opinion

Class III Conditions for which there is evidence and/or general agreement that a diagnostic evaluation/procedure/treatment is not useful/effective and in some cases may be harmful

Cost Analysis

A formal cost analysis was not performed and published cost analyses were not reviewed.

Method of Guideline Validation
Peer Review
Description of Method of Guideline Validation

This guideline has been approved by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and represents the position of the association. This practice guideline was produced in collaboration with the Practice Guidelines Committee of the AASLD, which provided extensive peer review of the manuscript.

Recommendations

Major Recommendations

The grading system for the class of recommendations (I, II, IIa, IIb, III) and the levels of evidence (A–C) is defined at the end of the "Major Recommendations" field.

Diagnosis: Criteria and Methods

  1. The diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) should be made when compatible clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory abnormalities (serum aspartate aminotransferase [AST] or alanine aminotransferase [ALT], and increased serum total immunoglobulin G [IgG] or gamma-globulin), serological (antinuclear antibody [ANA], smooth muscle antibodies [SMA], anti-liver/kidney microsome type 1 [anti-LKM 1], or antibody to liver cytosol type 1 [anti-LC1]), and histological (interface hepatitis) findings are present; and other conditions that can cause chronic hepatitis, including viral, hereditary, metabolic, cholestatic, and drug-induced diseases, have been excluded (see table below). (Class I, Level B)

Table. Codified Diagnostic Criteria of the International Autoimmune Hepatitis

Features Definite Probable
Liver histology Interface hepatitis of moderate or severe activity with or without lobular hepatitis or central portal bridging necrosis, but without biliary lesions or well defined granulomas or other prominent changes suggestive of a different etiology Same as for "definite"
Serum biochemistry Any abnormality in serum aminotransferases, especially if the serum alkaline phosphatase is not markedly elevated. Normal serum concentrations of alpha antitrypsin, copper, and ceruloplasmin. Same as for "definite" but patients with abnormal serum concentrations of copper or ceruloplasmin may be included, provided that Wilson disease has been excluded by appropriate investigations
Serum immunoglobulins Total serum globulin or gamma globulin or IgG concentrations greater than 1.5 times the upper normal limit Any elevation of serum globulin or gamma globulin or IgG concentrations above the upper normal limit
Serum autoantibodies Seropositivity for ANA, SMA, or anti-LKM 1 antibodies at titers greater than 1:80. Lower titers (particularly of anti-LKM 1) may be significant in children. Seronegativity for AMA. Same as for "definite" but at titers of 1:40 or greater. Patients who are seronegative for these antibodies but who are seropositive for other antibodies specified in the text may be included.
Viral markers Seronegativity for markers of current infection with hepatitis A, B, and C viruses Same as for "definite"
Other etiological factors Average alcohol consumption less than 25 g/day. No history of recent use of known hepatotoxic drugs. Alcohol consumption less than 50 g/day and no recent use of known hepatotoxic drugs. Patients who have consumed larger amounts of alcohol or who have recently taken potentially hepatotoxic drugs may be included, if there is clear evidence of continuing liver damage after abstinence from alcohol or withdrawal of the drug.

Table adapted from Alvarez F, Berg PA, Bianchi FB, et al. J Hepatol 1999;31:929-938.

AMA, antimitochondrial antibody; ANA, antinuclear antibody; anti-LKM 1, antibody to liver/kidney microsomes type 1; IgG, immunoglobulin G; SMA, smooth muscle antibody

  1. Diagnostically challenging cases that have few or atypical clinical, laboratory, serological, or histological findings should be assessed by the diagnostic scoring systems (see Table 3 in the original guideline document). (Class IIa, Level B)
  2. In patients negative for conventional autoantibodies in whom AIH is suspected, other serological markers, including at least antibody to soluble liver antigen (anti-SLA) and atypical perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (pANCA), should be tested. (See Table 4 and Fig. 4 in the original guideline document.) (Class I, Level B)
  3. In patients with AIH and multiple endocrine disorders, the autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) syndrome must be excluded by testing for the typical mutations in the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene. (Class I, Level C)

Autoantibody Classification

  1. Classification of AIH into two types based on the presence of ANA and SMA (type 1 AIH) or anti-LKM 1 and anti-LC1 (type 2 AIH) can be used to characterize the clinical syndrome or to indicate serological homogeneity in clinical investigations. Anti-LKM 1 antibodies should be routinely investigated to avoid overlooking type 2 AIH. (Class IIa, Level C)

Diagnostic Difficulties

  1. The diagnosis of AIH should be considered in all patients with acute or chronic hepatitis of undetermined cause, including patients with acute severe hepatitis. (Class I, Level C)
  2. Cholangiographic studies should be considered to exclude primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) in adults if there has been no response to corticosteroid therapy after 3 months. (Class IIb, Level C)
  3. All children with AIH and all adults with both AIH and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should undergo cholangiographic studies to exclude PSC. (Class I, Level C)

Treatment Indications

  1. Immunosuppressive treatment should be instituted in patients with serum AST or ALT levels greater than 10-fold upper limit of normal (ULN), at least five-fold ULN in conjunction with a serum gamma-globulin level at least 2-fold ULN, and/or histological features of bridging necrosis or multilobular necrosis (see table below). (Class I, Level A)
  2. Immunosuppressive treatment may be considered in adult patients without symptoms and mild laboratory and histological changes, but the decision must be individualized and balanced against the possible risks of therapy. Consider referral to a hepatologist prior to starting therapy (see table below). (Class IIa, Level C)
  3. Immunosuppressive treatment should not be instituted in patients with minimal or no disease activity or inactive cirrhosis, but these patients must continue to be followed closely, i.e., 3-6 months (see table below). (Class IIa, Level C)
  4. Immunosuppressive treatment should not be instituted in patients with serious pre-existent comorbid conditions (vertebral compression, psychosis, brittle diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension), or previous known intolerances to prednisone unless the disease is severe and progressive and adequate control measures for the comorbid conditions can be instituted (see table below). (Class III, Level C)
  5. Azathioprine treatment should not be started in patients with a severe pretreatment cytopenia (white blood cell counts below 2.5 x 109/L or platelet counts below 50 x 109/L) or known complete deficiency of thiopurine methyltransferase activity (see table below). (Class III, Level C)
  6. Immunosuppressive treatment should be instituted in children at the time of diagnosis regardless of symptom status. (Class I, Level C)

Table. Indications for Immunosuppressive Treatment

Absolute Relative None
Serum AST ≥10 fold ULN Symptoms (fatigue, arthralgia, jaundice) Asymptomatic with normal or near normal serum AST and gamma-globulin levels
Serum AST ≥5 fold ULN and gamma-globulin level ≥2 fold ULN Serum AST and/or gamma-globulin less than absolute criteria Inactive cirrhosis or mild portal inflammation (portal hepatitis)
Bridging necrosis or multiacinar necrosis on histological examination Interface hepatitis Severe cytopenia (white blood cell counts <2.5 x 109/L or platelet counts <50 x 109/L) or known complete deficiency of TPMT activity precludes treatment with azathioprine
Incapacitating symptoms Osteopenia, emotional instability, hypertension, diabetes, or cytopenia (white blood cell counts ≤2.5 x 109/L or platelet counts ≤50 x 109/L) Vertebral compression, psychosis, brittle diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, known intolerances to prednisone or azathioprine

AST, serum aspartate aminotransferase level; TPMT, thiopurine methyltransferase; ULN, upper limit of normal range

Treatment Regimens

  1. Treatment should be instituted with prednisone (starting with 30 mg daily and tapering down to 10 mg daily within 4 weeks) in combination with azathioprine (50 mg daily or 1-2 mg/kg body weight as widely used in Europe) or a higher dose of prednisone alone (starting with 40-60 mg daily and tapering down to 20 mg daily within 4 weeks) in adults with AIH. The combination regimen is preferred, and prednisolone in equivalent dose can be used instead of prednisone (see Table 6 in the original guideline document). (Class I, Level A)
  2. Treatment should be instituted with prednisone (1-2 mg/kg daily; maximum dose 60 mg daily) in children in combination with azathioprine (1-2 mg/kg daily) or 6-mercaptopurine (1.5 mg/kg daily) (see Table 7 in the original guideline document). (Class I, Level B)
  3. Patients on long-term corticosteroid treatment should be monitored for bone disease at baseline and then annually. (Class IIa, Level C)
  4. Adjunctive therapies for bone disease include a regular weight bearing exercise program, vitamin D, calcium, and where appropriate bone active agents such as bisphosphonates. (Class IIa, Level C)
  5. Pretreatment vaccination against hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) should be performed if there has been no previous vaccination or susceptibility to these viruses has been shown. (Class IIa, Level C)

Treatment-Related Side Effects

  1. The possible side effects of therapy with corticosteroids must be reviewed with the patient prior to treatment (see Table 8 in the original guideline document). (Class Ia, Level C)
  2. Patients must be counseled regarding the uncertain risk of azathioprine in pregnancy, and azathioprine should be discontinued, if possible, in patients during pregnancy. (Class III, Level C)
  3. Azathioprine has a category D pregnancy rating by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it should be discontinued, if possible, in patients during pregnancy. (Class III, Level C)
  4. Postpartum exacerbation of AIH must be anticipated by resuming standard therapy 2 weeks prior to anticipated delivery and by closely monitoring serum AST or ALT levels at 3-week intervals for at least 3 months after delivery. (Class IIa, Level C)
  5. Blood thiopurine methyltransferase activity should be assessed in patients with cytopenia before or during azathioprine therapy. (Class IIa, Level C)

Treatment Endpoints and Courses of Action

  1. Improvements in the serum AST or ALT level, total bilirubin concentration, and gamma-globulin or IgG level should be monitored at 3- to 6-month intervals during treatment. (Class IIa, Level C)
  2. Treatment should be continued until normal serum AST or ALT level, total bilirubin concentration, gamma-globulin or IgG level, and normal liver histology not exhibiting inflammatory activity is achieved (see table below). (Class IIa, Level C)
  3. Patients should experience a minimum duration of biochemical remission before immunosuppression is terminated after at least 24 months of therapy. (Class IIa, Level C)
  4. Worsening symptoms, laboratory tests, or histological features during conventional therapy (treatment failure) compel the institution of high dose prednisone alone (60 mg daily) or prednisone (30 mg daily) in combination with azathioprine (150 mg daily) (see table below). (Class IIa, Level C)
  5. Clinical, laboratory, and histological improvement which is insufficient to satisfy criteria for a treatment endpoint after continuous therapy for at least 36 months (incomplete response) should be treated with long-term prednisone therapy or azathioprine maintenance in doses adjusted to ensure absence of symptoms and stable laboratory abnormalities (see table below). (Class IIa, Level C)
  6. Intolerance to the medication (drug toxicity) should be managed by reducing the dose of the offending agent or discontinuing its use (see table below). (Class IIa, Level C)

Table. Endpoints of Initial Immunosuppressive Treatment and Courses of Action in Autoimmune Hepatitis

Treatment Endpoint Criteria Courses of Action
Remission Disappearance of symptoms, normal serum aminotransferases, bilirubin and gamma-globulin levels, normal hepatic tissue or inactive cirrhosis Gradual withdrawal of prednisone over 6-week period

Serum AST or ALT, total bilirubin, and gamma-globulin levels determined at 3-week intervals during and for 3 months after drug withdrawal.

Repeat laboratory assessments thereafter every 6 months for at least 1 year and then every year life long
Treatment failure Worsening clinical, laboratory, and histological features despite compliance with therapy Prednisone, 60 mg daily, or prednisone, 30 mg daily, and azathioprine, 150 mg daily, for at least 1 month
Development of jaundice, ascites, or hepatic encephalopathy Dose reduction of prednisone by 10 mg and azathioprine by 50 mg for each month of improvement until standard treatment doses are achieved
Incomplete response Some or no improvement in clinical, laboratory, and histological features despite compliance with therapy after 2 to 3 years Reduction in doses of prednisone by 2.5 mg/month until lowest level possible (≤10 mg daily) to prevent worsening of serum AST or ALT abnormalities
No worsening of condition Indefinite azathioprine therapy (2 mg/kg daily) as an alternative treatment if corticosteroid intolerance
Drug toxicity Development of intolerable cosmetic changes, symptomatic osteopenia, emotional instability, poorly controlled hypertension, brittle diabetes, or progressive cytopenia Reduction in dose or discontinuation of offending dose

Maintenance on tolerated drug in adjusted dose

AST, aspartate aminotransferase; ALT, alanine aminotransferase

Relapse After Drug Withdrawal

  1. The first relapse after drug withdrawal should be retreated with a combination of prednisone plus azathioprine at the same treatment regimen as with the initial course of therapy and then tapered to monotherapy with either azathioprine (2 mg/kg daily) as a long-term maintenance therapy or with indefinite low dose prednisone (≤10 mg daily) in patients intolerant of azathioprine. (Class IIa, Level C)
  2. Gradual withdrawal from long-term azathioprine or low-dose prednisone maintenance therapy should be attempted after at least 24 months of treatment and continued normal serum AST or ALT level only after careful benefit risk evaluation in patients who had previously relapsed. (Class IIa, Level C)

Alternate Drug Therapies for Suboptimal Responses

  1. Treatment failure in adults should be managed with high dose prednisone (60 mg daily) or prednisone (30 mg daily) in combination with azathioprine (150 mg daily) before considering other drugs such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus, or mycophenolate mofetil. (Class IIa, Level B)
  2. In treatment failure mycophenolate mofetil or cyclosporine have had the most empiric use as alternative medications. Mycophenolate mofetil (2 g daily orally) is the most promising current agent. (Class IIa, Level C)
  3. Doses of prednisone and azathioprine should be increased in children who worsen despite compliance with their original therapy, and they may become candidates for liver transplantation. (Class IIa, Level C)

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

  1. Patients with AIH cirrhosis should undergo hepatic ultrasonography at 6 month intervals to detect HCC as in other causes of liver cirrhosis. (Class IIa, Level C)

Transplantation for Autoimmune Hepatitis

  1. Liver transplantation should be considered in patients with AIH and acute liver failure, decompensated cirrhosis with a model of end-stage liver disease (MELD) score ≥15, or hepatocellular carcinoma meeting criteria for transplantation. (Class I, Level C)
  2. Recurrent AIH should be treated with prednisone and azathioprine in adjusted doses to suppress serum AST or ALT levels or increased doses of corticosteroids and optimization of calcineurin inhibitor levels (preferably tacrolimus). (Class IIa, Level C)
  3. Continued inability to normalize the serum AST or ALT levels following recurrent disease justifies the addition of mycophenolate (2 g daily) to the regimen of corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitor. (Class IIa, Level C)
  4. If treatment response continues to be inadequate in recurrent disease, tacrolimus should be replaced with cyclosporine or the calcineurin inhibitors replaced with sirolimus. (Class IIa, Level C)
  5. Retransplantation must be considered for patients with refractory recurrent AIH that is progressing to allograft loss. (Class IIa, Level C)
  6. Consider de novo AIH in all pediatric and adult patients with allograft dysfunction after liver transplantation regardless of whether the original indication for liver transplantation was AIH or another disease. (Class IIa, Level C)

    42a.   Treatment for de novo AIH should be instituted with the reintroduction of corticosteroids or the dose of corticosteroids increased and calcineurin inhibitor levels optimized. (Class IIa, Level C)

    42b.   An incomplete response in de novo AIH should be treated by adding azathioprine (1.0-2.0 mg/kg daily) or mycophenolate mofetil (2 g daily) to the regimen of corticosteroid and calcineurin inhibitor. (Class IIa, Level C)

  7. Tacrolimus should be replaced with cyclosporine or either calcineurin inhibitor replaced with sirolimus if the response continues to be incomplete. (Class IIa, Level C)
  8. Retransplantation should be considered for patients with refractory de novo AIH that is progressing to allograft failure. (Class IIa, Level C)

Definitions:

Level of Evidence

Level A Data derived from multiple randomized clinical trials or meta-analyses

Level B Data derived from a single randomized trial, or nonrandomized studies

Level C Only consensus opinion of experts, case studies, or standard of care

Grading System for Recommendations

Class I Conditions for which there is evidence and/or general agreement that a given diagnostic evaluation, procedure, or treatment is beneficial, useful, and effective

Class II Conditions for which there is conflicting evidence and/or a divergence of opinion about the usefulness/efficacy of a diagnostic evaluation, procedure, or treatment

Class IIa Weight of evidence/opinion is in favor of usefulness/efficacy

Class IIb Usefulness/efficacy is less well established by evidence/opinion

Class III Conditions for which there is evidence and/or general agreement that a diagnostic evaluation/procedure/treatment is not useful/effective and in some cases may be harmful

Clinical Algorithm(s)

None provided

Evidence Supporting the Recommendations

Type of Evidence Supporting the Recommendations

The type of supporting evidence is specifically stated for each recommendation (see the "Major Recommendations" field).

Benefits/Harms of Implementing the Guideline Recommendations

Potential Benefits

Appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and management of autoimmune hepatitis

Potential Harms
  • Significant deleterious effects of long-term intermediate or high dose corticosteroid therapy in children on linear growth, bone development, and physical appearance
  • Side effects and complications from therapeutic agents:
    • Cosmetic changes, including facial rounding, dorsal hump formation, striae, weight gain, acne, alopecia and facial hirsutism, occur in 80% of patients after 2 years of corticosteroid treatment regardless of the regimen (see Table 8 in the original guideline document). Severe side effects include osteopenia with vertebral compression, brittle diabetes, psychosis, pancreatitis, opportunistic infection, labile hypertension, and malignancy. Severe complications are uncommon, but if they occur, it is usually after protracted therapy (more than 18 months) with prednisone alone (20 mg daily).
    • Complications of azathioprine therapy in autoimmune hepatitis include cholestatic hepatitis, pancreatitis, nausea, emesis, rash, opportunistic infection, bone marrow suppression and malignancy (see Table 8 in the original guideline document). Five percent of patients treated with azathioprine develop early adverse reactions (nausea, vomiting, arthralgias, fever, skin rash or pancreatitis), which warrants its discontinuation. The overall frequency of azathioprine-related side effects in patients with autoimmune hepatitis is 10%, and the side effects typically improve after the dose of azathioprine is reduced or the therapy is discontinued. An important but rare complication of azathioprine treatment is a diarrheal syndrome associated with malabsorption and small intestinal villus atrophy that improves after azathioprine withdrawal. The principal side effect of azathioprine is cytopenia, and the most dire consequence is bone marrow failure.

Subgroups Most Likely to Be Harmed

Patients with cirrhosis, pregnant patients, and patients with low thiopurine methyltransferase activity have increased risk for drug toxicity.

Contraindications

Contraindications
  • Immunosuppressive treatment should not be instituted in patients with minimal or no disease activity or inactive cirrhosis, but these patients must continue to be followed closely, i.e., 3 to 6 months.
  • Immunosuppressive treatment should not be instituted in patients with serious pre-existent comorbid conditions (vertebral compression, psychosis, brittle diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension), or previous known intolerances to prednisone unless the disease is severe and progressive and adequate control measures for the comorbid conditions can be instituted.
  • Azathioprine treatment should not be started in patients with a severe pretreatment cytopenia (white blood cell counts below 2.5 x 109/L or platelet counts below 50 x 109/L) or known complete deficiency of thiopurine methyltransferase activity.

Qualifying Statements

Qualifying Statements

These recommendations, intended for use by physicians, suggest preferred approaches to the diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive aspects of care. They are intended to be flexible, in contrast to standards of care, which are inflexible policies to be followed in every case.

Implementation of the Guideline

Description of Implementation Strategy

An implementation strategy was not provided.

Institute of Medicine (IOM) National Healthcare Quality Report Categories

IOM Care Need
Getting Better
Living with Illness
IOM Domain
Effectiveness

Identifying Information and Availability

Bibliographic Source(s)
Manns MP, Czaja AJ, Gorham JD, Krawitt EL, Mieli-Vergani G, Vergani D, Vierling JM, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Diagnosis and management of autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatology. 2010 Jun;51(6):2193-213. [441 references] PubMed External Web Site Policy
Adaptation

Not applicable: The guideline was not adapted from another source.

Date Released
2002 Aug (revised 2010 Jun)
Guideline Developer(s)
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases - Nonprofit Research Organization
Source(s) of Funding

American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

Guideline Committee

Practice Guidelines Committee

Composition of Group That Authored the Guideline

Primary Authors: Michael P. Manns; Albert J. Czaja; James D. Gorham; Edward L. Krawitt; Giorgina Mieli-Vergani; Diego Vergani; John M. Vierling

Committee Members: Jayant A. Talwalkar, MD, MPH (Chair); Anna Mae Diehl, MD (Board Liaison); Jeffrey H. Albrecht, MD; Amanda DeVoss, MMS, PA-C; José Franco, MD; Stephen A. Harrison, MD; Kevin Korenblat, MD; Simon C. Ling, MBChB; Lawrence U. Liu, MD; Paul Martin, MD; Kim M. Olthoff, MD; Robert S. O'Shea, MD; Nancy Reau, MD; Adnan Said, MD; Margaret C. Shuhart, MD, MS; Kerry N. Whitt, MD

Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest

Michael Manns has received research support, lecture fees and took part in clinical trials for Falk Pharma GmbH, Freiburg, Germany, and Roche Pharma, Basel, Switzerland.

Guideline Status

This is the current release of the guideline.

This guideline updates a previous version: Czaja AJ, Freese DK. Diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatology 2002 Aug;36(2):479-97.

Guideline Availability

Electronic copies: Available in Portable Document Format (PDF) from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Web site External Web Site Policy.

Print copies: Available from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, 1729 King Street, Suite 200; Alexandria, VA 22314; Phone: 703-299-9766; Web site: www.aasld.org External Web Site Policy; e-mail: aasld@aasld.org.

Availability of Companion Documents

None available

Patient Resources

None available

NGC Status

This NGC summary was completed by ECRI on May 9, 2003. The information was verified by the guideline developer as of June 12, 2003. This NGC summary was updated by ECRI Institute on November 23, 2010.

Copyright Statement

This NGC summary is based on the original guideline, which is subject to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases' copyright restrictions.

Disclaimer

NGC Disclaimer

The National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) does not develop, produce, approve, or endorse the guidelines represented on this site.

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