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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1999 Sep;23(9):1543-51.

Hepatitis C and alcohol.

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  • 1Center for Liver Diseases, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, USA.



Alcohol abuse and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection frequently coexist in patients with chronic liver disease. It is widely believed that alcohol and HCV act synergistically in these patients to promote the development and progression of liver damage.


A review of the relevant medical literature, identified by computer assisted literature search, was conducted.


It has been established that alcohol consumption is associated with the accelerated progression of liver injury, higher frequency of cirrhosis, and higher incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma. Alcohol abuse is also associated with decreased response to interferon treatment, and there are reports to suggest that patients with HCV cirrhosis, who abuse alcohol, have higher mortality than those who do not. Abstinence may reverse some of these deleterious effects of alcohol, and may even improve the ultimate response to treatment. The mechanism for the synergistic effect of alcohol and HCV is not fully understood, but has been attributed to alcohol's effect on viral replication, or to its effect on the immune system, hepatic iron content, or hepatic regeneration.


Alcohol has a deleterious effect on HCV associated liver disease. It is recommended that patients with HCV infection abstain from alcohol consumption.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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