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Liver Transpl. 2007 Nov;13(11 Suppl 2):S79-82.

Treatment of addictive behaviors in liver transplant patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Very little addiction treatment research has been done concerning smoking cessation, illicit drugs, or even alcohol abuse in liver transplant patients. Our data suggest that a surprising number of patients who are awaiting a liver transplant for alcohol-related end-stage liver disease will return to drinking before transplantation. We found that motivational enhancement therapy afforded no marked benefit over treatment as usual for drinking, smoking, mood, or general health outcomes in alcoholics awaiting liver transplantation. Stably abstinent methadone-maintained opiate-dependent patients should not be tapered off methadone; are generally good candidates for liver transplant; show low relapse rates into illicit use of opiates; and may be at risk for more medical complications than their counterparts. Pre- and posttransplantation smoking rates are high and cause marked morbidity and mortality. Transplant teams should encourage smoking cessation treatments.Marijuana use in liver transplant recipients is not uncommon, and apart from the risk of developing aspergillosis, additional health risks have not yet been identified.

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