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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Checking Enzyme Levels
July 2002

Q. I was just asked by a pharmacist if I had my enzyme levels checked. No one had asked me this before and I have been taking Serzone for 7 years now. He said that Serzone has been reported to cause serious liver damage in some patients.

This posed quite a concern considering how long I have been taking this drug. Should my doctor have informed me of this when the FDA sent out warnings to all the health care providers?

A. The liver is the body's main filtering system, responsible for metabolizing all kinds of chemicals in the body that would otherwise be toxic. Most of these are produced internally through our normal metabolism, but the same function is performed on substances ingested or taken in through the lungs or diet. The kidneys also process toxins in this way.

This is why during most physical exams for a check-up, a blood test is done which includes several measures of liver and kidney function. You may well have had this done in recent times, even though is was not specifically done in regards to your medication. A periodic check of these organs can help assure safety of medication taken on a regular basis.



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