Alcohol and Hepatitis CJamal M.M. · Saadi Z. · Morgan T.R.
Long Beach VA Medical Center and University of California, Irvine, Long Beach, Calif., USA
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Background/Aims: Alcohol use and hepatitis C are prominent risk factors for liver injury and this review offers the current understanding of each factor’s effects on liver disease. Methods: A Medline database search was preformed for English articles with a focus on alcohol, hepatitis C and liver disease. Article citations were also considered for further applicable articles, and the strongest studies were included in our review. Results: Up to 60% of patients with hepatitis C have a past history of alcohol use. In patients with hepatitis C, chronic alcohol consumption of more than 5 drinks/day increases the rate of liver fibrosis, risk for cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and, possibly, death from liver disease. Numerous studies have further found that even moderate amounts of alcohol can be detrimental to hepatitis C patients. The prevalence of hepatitis C is higher in alcoholics with advanced liver disease than in alcoholics without liver disease. Also, recent alcohol use decreases the response rate to interferon treatment. Conclusions: Hepatitis C and alcohol use are often co-occurring risk factors for liver disease, and though their interaction is not clear, it is known that heavy drinking significantly promotes liver disease progression.
© 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel
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