Mar 7, 2002
My boyfriend was diagnosed with chronic hep c in 1991. At that time he gave up all use of alcohol. He had interferon treatment twice and a biopsy that revealed the beginning of cirrosis. He has been told that besides the existence of the virus in his blood and a slightly enlarged liver, that he has no signs of a person with a chronic liver disease. After five years of no alcohol, he started using alcohol again. He has been using again for the last five years approximately once every 6 months. What kind of damage is he doing? He has convinced himself that "once in a while is O.K." since he is healthy and showing no bad signs. He is 40 yrs. old and will be starting the "peg" treatment shortly.
| Response from Dr. Fried
We usually recommend avoiding all alcohol intake for patients with hepatitis C. If someone has one or two drinks every 6 months, it is unlikely that this will cause significant damage by itself. HOWEVER, the exact amount of alcohol that will cause increased liver damage in the setting of hepatitis C is unknown and remains under investigation. I always tell my patients that the safest thing is to avoid alcohol.
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