New study: Alcoholic hepatitis drugs not effective
- In a study of more than 1,000 patients published in the New England Journal of Medicine, use of prednisolone and pentoxifylline did not significantly reduce death in patients with alcoholic hepatitis.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is linked to liver failure and results in death within a month in 30% of patients.
- Prednisolone and pentoxifylline are widely used to treat alcoholic hepatitis and included as treatments in practice guidelines—but they don't work that well.
In the study, the researchers, located at Imperial College London, found that use of prrednisolone and pentoxifylline did not decrease death rates related to alcoholic hepatitis over 28 days, 90 days, or a year.
In fact, often patients suffered from an increased risk of infection. In the study, although the patients were treated with the drugs, 56 had either died or received a liver transplant within a year. The researchers are calling for more research to find better treatment options, while conceding that one reason the drugs often don't work is because patients keep drinking.