Abstinence, Addiction Therapy Increases Survival Among Patients With Alcoholic Hepatitis
According to a recent study, completely abstaining from alcohol use after an alcoholic hepatitis episode improves the chance of long-term survival. Researchers thus say that intervention with addiction counseling may also increase the chance of survival by preventing relapse.
Alcoholic hepatitis is liver inflammation due to excessive long-term alcohol consumptionexcessive long-term alcohol consumption.
From the study:
“Identification of patients with high risk of recidivism is relevant because it can be used to select patients for salvage transplantation and to identify those patients needing more intense alcohol therapy.”
To examine the results of alcohol abstinence on the chance of long-term survival, while including factors related to relapse vs. continued abstinence, investigators reviewed data from 142 patients with alcoholic hepatitis from 1999-2012. The average age was 50 years, the majority (69%) were men, and around 30% had a co-occurring mental disorder such as depression or anxiety.
The average amount of daily alcohol consumption was 100 grams, and 28 patients reported regular consumption of more than 20 alcoholic beverages each day. By the end of follow-up, 88 patients were still living, and 54 were deceased. In 47 patients, mortality was liver-related.
Compared to living subjects, deceased patients were older, more often men, and frequently had a more extensive history of heavy drinking. They also more often continued to drink after diagnosis. Finally, about one-third of patients who remained completely abstinent had at least one liver decompensation that required hospital admission during follow-up, versus nearly two-thirds who continued drinking.
From the study:
“We found that continued alcohol consumption is associated with a poorer long-term survival after an episode, which has important implications in the management of these patients.”
Researchers went on to say that results strongly indicated that “maneuvers aimed at promoting alcohol abstinence” should begin as early as possible in alcoholic hepatitis patients, and that “multidisciplinary teams including addiction therapists should contribute in the integral treatment of these patients.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology