Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Baillieres Clin Gastroenterol. 1993 Sep;7(3):697-716.

Medical treatment for alcoholic liver disease.

Author information

  • 1Hôpital Beaujon, Clichy, France.


The most effective treatment for alcoholic liver disease is abstinence from alcohol and it is the only treatment for patients with alcoholic fatty liver. Although many empirical therapeutic agents have been studied in the short-term and long-term treatment of alcoholic hepatitis, results have been mainly inconclusive. To date, only corticosteroids have proved to decrease the short-term mortality rate of patients with severe forms of acute alcoholic hepatitis. Corticosteroids are not beneficial to the majority of patients with mild or moderate forms of acute alcoholic hepatitis; such patients improve with abstinence from alcohol and general supportive measures and do not need a specific short-term treatment. Most long-term trials have only showed that most patients with alcoholic liver disease were neither abstinent nor compliant, and that long-term survival was strongly correlated to abstinence from alcohol. In one study, propylthiouracil decreased the long-term mortality rate of compliant patients with severe alcoholic liver disease who reduced their alcohol intake; however, further clinical trials are needed before propylthiouracil can be recommended. In another study, colchicine decreased the long-term mortality rate of cirrhotic patients, 45% of whom had alcoholic cirrhosis. Results were highly significant, and the need for further clinical trials of colchicine in the long-term treatment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cirrhosis is imperative. Enteral nutrition should also be studied in severely malnourished cirrhotic patients, since it was shown to decrease the short-term mortality rate of such patients in a recent study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk