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Clin Liver Dis. 2009 May;13(2):267-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2009.02.003.

Management of alcoholic liver disease.

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  • 1Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, H6/516 CSC, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792, USA.


Understanding alcohol addiction and abstinence is key to treating alcoholic liver disease, since abstinence leads to improvement in all forms of alcoholic liver damage. Although pharmacotherapy for alcoholism, using agents such as naltrexone, acamprosate, topiramate, and baclofen, is an exciting field, few studies have included patients with liver disease or cirrhosis. To treat alcoholic liver injury, corticosteroids have become the standard of care in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis. In contrast, the role of pharmacotherapy to treat alcoholic fibrosis is unclear, with failure to observe a benefit in randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials of colchicine, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), or phosphatidylcholine. Liver transplantation remains an option in selected patients with life-threatening alcoholic liver disease.

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