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September 11, 2013

Treatment of Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis With Corticosteroids and Pentoxifylline

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2013;310(10):1029-1030. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.276301

Despite being the most frequently abused drug for centuries, alcohol was not recognized as a direct hepatotoxin until the 1960s.1 Alcohol abuse accounts for the third leading preventable cause of death and the second most common cause of cirrhosis after hepatitis C virus infection in the United States.2,3 Alcoholic hepatitis is a common complication of alcohol abuse; its severity can range from mild to severe liver inflammation and can lead to the development of jaundice, prolonged prothrombin time, and liver failure. When left untreated in its severe form, alcoholic hepatitis has an extremely high mortality rate of up to 40% within 6 months after onset of clinical symptoms.4