Study: Alcohol Abuse Increases Risks in Patients with Hepatitis C

Published Online: Tuesday, August 7th, 2018
The interaction between alcohol abuse and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can compromise overall survival outcomes, according to a study published in Clinical Epidemiology.
 
Between 10% and 20% of individuals who consume alcohol excessively develop alcoholic liver disease, according to the researchers. The study noted that approximately 20% of patients with alcoholic hepatitis have HCV. Notably, rates of liver-related mortality grew worldwide from 2005 to 2015, which reflects changes in risk factors, such as excessive alcohol consumption and HCV infection, according to the study.
 
HCV infection is a significant risk factor for liver disease progression and related deaths due to conditions such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer. Furthermore, individuals with HCV are more likely to consume alcohol than those without the virus, which may point to a link between poor outcomes and mortality from liver-related conditions, according to the study.
 
To evaluate the association, the researchers conducted a longitudinal study of 819 patients treated for alcohol abuse between 2000 and 2010. The authors collected data at entry into the study on alcohol use characteristics, alcoholic liver disease, and HCV infection. Of the patients in the study, 15.8% were infected with HCV. There were 129 all-patient deaths over 5117 person-years during a median follow-up of 6.4 years, with 31 (24.6%) deaths among patients with HCV and 98 (15.4%) among HCV-negative patients.

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