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Semin Liver Dis. 1993 May;13(2):210-6.

Treatment of alcoholic liver disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.


The treatment of alcoholic liver disease at present consists of abstinence from alcohol, bed rest, and dietary intake or administration of adequate amounts of calories and protein. Besides corticosteroids, which have been shown to improve hospital survival in severely ill patients with alcoholic hepatitis and liver transplantation in advanced cirrhosis, no successful specific therapy is available for alcoholic liver disease. Potential new therapeutic approaches include: (1) Treatment with specific dietary supplements such as polyunsaturated lecithin, which in baboons prevented the progression of the early stages of pericentral and interstitial fibrosis to septal fibrosis and cirrhosis; (2) antagonists to cytokines or antibodies to cytokine receptors for cytokines that have been shown to enhance hepatocellular necrosis or fibrosis; (3) substances that block pathways of oxygen radical formation or increase their metabolism or binding to form nonharmful compounds; (4) inhibition of collagen synthesis by proline analogues that increase intracellular collagen degradation or increase in collagen degradation by stimulation of collagenase or by insertion of exogenous DNA encoding amino or carboxyterminal peptides of procollagen into hepatocytes; and (5) stimulation of hepatic regeneration and recovery from alcohol-inducer liver injury.

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