NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Alcohol increases the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV), and it interferes with the effectiveness of interferon used to treat hepatitis C.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Alcohol increases the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV), and it interferes with the effectiveness of interferon used to treat hepatitis C.That warning comes from an article in the medical journal Hepatology. The authors — Dr. Wen-Zhe Ho from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and associates — examined the effects of alcohol on HCV-infected cells in lab dishes.”As demonstrated in our study, alcohol not only induced HCV replicon expression but also compromised anti-HCV effect of interferon alfa,” Dr. Ho told Reuters Health. “These findings provide practical guidance toward the reduction of risk factors that interfere with interferon-based therapy and promote HCV disease progression.”Other experiments showed that naltrexone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, blocked the enhancing effect of alcohol on HCV. This suggests that “there might be an additional benefit for treating HCV-infected alcohol abusers with naltrexone,” Dr. Ho added.However, Dr. Ho stressed that all this was determined in laboratory research, not patients. Whether it is meaningful in clinical practice “needs to be confirmed by epidemiological investigations, which is what we would like to do in the future.”(SOURCE: Reuters, Hepatology, Tue July 22, 2003 06:02 PM ET)