Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

2017 Edition
| Editors: Fátima Carneiro, Paula Chaves, Arzu Ensari

Drug-Induced Intestinal Injury

  • Liesbeth FerdinandeEmail author
Reference work entry


A large number of drugs can cause intestinal side effects with clinical symptoms ranging from diarrhea or constipation to ulceration, bleeding, or perforation. One drug can be responsible for different clinical presentations and variable pathological findings. As these microscopic injury patterns are often not specific or pathognomonic, making a correct diagnosis of drug-induced pathology can be very difficult. Moreover, pathologists are usually not informed about the drugs that a patient has been taking, although this information together with the clinical history is essential in establishing the diagnosis. The possibility of a drug-related etiology should be considered, especially in cases of unusual pathology without apparent explanation. Drug-induced damage is mostly a reversible condition if drug intake is stopped, emphasizing the importance of recognizing this pathology.

Demonstrating that the drug is the cause of the pathological findings is difficult. A correlation...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Daniels, J. A., Gibson, M. K., Xu, L., Sun, S., Canto, M. I., Heath, E., Wang, J., Brock, M., & Montgomery, E. (2008). Gastrointestinal tract epithelial changes associated with taxanes: marker of drug toxicity versus effect. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 32, 473–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Geboes, K., De Hertogh, G., & Ectors, N. (2006). Drug-induced pathology in the large intestine. Current Diagnostic Pathology, 12, 239–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Iacobuzio-Donahue, C. A., Lee, E. L., Abraham, S. C., Yardley, J. H., & Wu, T. (2001). Colchicine toxicity. Distinct morphological findings in gastrointestinal biopsies. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 25, 1067–1073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Parfitt, J. R., & Driman, D. K. (2007). Pathological effects of drugs on the gastrointestinal tract: a review. Human Pathology, 38, 527–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Rashid, A., & Hamilton, S. R. (1997). Necrosis of the gastrointestinal tract in uremic patients as a result of sodium polystyrene sulfonate (kayexalate) in sorbitol: an underrecognized condition. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 21, 60–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Selbst, M. K., Ahrens, W. A., Robert, M. E., Friedman, A., Proctor, D. D., & Jain, D. (2009). Spectrum of histologic changes in colonic biopsies in patients treated with mycophenolate mofetil. Modern Pathology, 22, 737–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium