Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 07:22:29 +0200
- Alcohol and Alcoholism - current issue
Management of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Heavy Drinkers
Aim: Optimal management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is controversial in heavy drinkers. We compared the management of HCV infection of heavy drinkers with that of patients without a history of alcohol abuse. Methods: In a retrospective case–control study, 69 HCV-infected heavy drinkers [daily alcohol consumption at referral above 60 g/day, hereafter ‘alcohol group’] were compared with matched HCV-infected patients with low alcohol consumption (<40 g/day, ‘control group’). Results: Patients of the ‘alcohol group’ were younger (42 vs. 45 years, P = 0.05), more often male (69.6 vs. 56.5%, P = 0.11) and had been infected by intravenous drug use (85.5 vs. 45.0%, P < 0.0001). The percentage of patients with a recommendation for treatment according to the French 2002 consensus (bridging fibrosis or genotype 2 or 3) was 52 of 69 (75.4%) in both groups, while the proportion of patients treated was higher in the control group (71.0 vs. 44.9%, P = 0.002). In the ‘alcohol group’, patients had better access to treatment if they were employed or consumed 170 g/day or less at first referral. Sustained virological response (SVR) was obtained in 10 of 31 patients (32.3%) of the ‘alcohol group’ vs. 8 of 31 patients (25.8%) of the control group matched for genotype and type of treatment (P = 0.58). Conclusion: Heavy drinkers are less often considered for antiviral therapy compared with patients without a history of alcohol abuse. However, once treatment is actually initiated, SVR rates are comparable with those achieved in non-drinkers despite the continuation of alcohol consumption during therapy in some patients.