A convincing, yet inconsistent, pattern has emerged that demonstrates increased progression of Hepatitis C-related liver disease with heavy alcohol use.
Dr Sharon Hutchinson and colleagues from England quantified the effect of alcohol on cirrhosis risk in patients with Hepatitis C.
The research team performed a meta-analysis of 20 articles, involving more than 15,000 Hepatitis C infected persons, published between 1995 and 2004.
The team explored the relationship between advanced liver disease and the consumption of alcohol.
|The relative risk for cirrhosis associated with alcohol intake of 210-560 g per week was 2.3 |
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The pooled relative risk of cirrhosis associated with heavy alcohol intake, of at least 210-560 g per week was 2.3 by the random effects model.
The researchers found that the risk of Hepatitis C-related liver disease associated with heavy alcohol intake increased with severity of the outcome.
The lowest and highest pooled relative risk estimates were obtained for advanced fibrosis and decompensated cirrhosis, respectively.
The team noted, however, that the regression effect of alcohol might be underestimated in studies investigating the risk of Hepatitis C-related cirrhosis.
This may be because these studies necessarily include patients undergoing liver biopsy and could therefore under-represent heavy alcohol users.
Dr Hutchinson's team concluded, “The evidence overwhelmingly shows a worsened outcome for those with chronic Hepatitis C and concurrent alcohol use.”
“Studies varied widely in their definition of significant alcohol intake, and so the true threshold above which alcohol accelerates Hepatitis C disease progression remains uncertain.”
“Alcohol consumption should be minimized as much as possible in those who have chronic Hepatitis C until a safe threshold is more definitively determined.”