From the Journals

HCV and alcohol use disorder – bad news for the liver



Patients infected with both hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) were twice as likely to present with advanced liver fibrosis at hospital admission, according to the results of a database study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2018;188:180-6).

The study population consisted of 1,313 patients (80% men). Median age at admission was 45 years and the median alcohol consumption was 200 g/day. HCV infection was present in 236 patients (18%), according to Arantza Sanvisens, MD, of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Badalona, Spain, and her colleagues.

AUD patients with HCV infection were significantly younger, more likely to have used intravenous drugs, began alcohol consumption at younger age, drank larger quantities of alcohol, and were more likely to be current opiate users and current cocaine users, compared with patients without HCV infection.

After adjustment by sex, age and quantity of alcohol consumption, patients with HCV infection were two times more likely to have advanced liver fibrosis (odds ratio = 2.1, 95% confidence ratio,1.5–3.1).

“Successful evaluation of liver damage in this population includes the management of both excessive alcohol consumption and chronic HCV-related disease,” according to Dr. Sanvisens and her colleagues. “Furthermore, current guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, the European Association for the Study of the Liver, and the World Health Organization already recommend treatment of HCV infection in individuals with substance use disorder,” they concluded.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Sanvisens, A et al., Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2018;188:180-6).

Next Article: