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Even Patients with Severe Liver Problems Benefit from Abstinence


Abstinence from alcohol has a more profound effect on survival rates than the degree of cirrhosis among patients with alcohol-related liver disease, according to researchers who said that stopping drinking at any stage will benefit liver patients.

Science Daily reported April 15 that drinking status was the most important factor in determining the long-term survival of patients with alcohol-related liver disease. Patients who quit drinking within a month of being diagnosed with cirrhosis, for example, had a 72-percent chance of surviving for seven years, compared to 44 percent for those who continued to drink.

“This study clearly confirms the commonsense knowledge amongst hepatologists that the single most important determinant of long-term prognosis in alcohol-induced cirrhosis is for the patient to stop drinking,” said lead researcher Nick Sheron of the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital in the U.K. “At the most simplistic level, the successful management of alcohol-induced liver disease comprises two components; firstly to keep the patient alive long enough for them to stop drinking and secondly to maximize their chances of continued abstinence.”

The study was published in the May 2009 issue of the journal Addiction

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