Systematic review: Interventions for alcohol use disorder in patients with cirrhosis or alcohol associated hepatitis

Christopher Oldroyd (Lead Author), Olivia Greenham, Michael Allison, Graham Martin, Caitlin Notley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Alcohol use is the most important factor in determining the prognosis of patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis and alcohol-associated hepatitis. Aim: To conduct a systematic review of interventions for alcohol use disorder specific to patients with cirrhosis or alcohol-associated hepatitis. Methods: We searched five databases between inception and November 2022. The primary outcomes were abstinence, hepatic decompensation and mortality. We included randomised and non-randomised studies. Risk of bias was assessed using validated tools. Where possible, meta-analysis was performed. Results: Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria including six randomised trials and 17 non-randomised studies of interventions. These included 104,298 patients with a mean/median age range from 44 to 65, of whom 75% were male. Interventions included psychological therapy, pharmacological therapies, specialist clinics, patient education and low alcohol drinks. Baclofen was the only intervention to demonstrate a statistically significant impact on the primary outcomes in a randomised trial (abstinence OR: 6.3, 95% CI: 2.4–16.1). Three non-randomised studies reported reductions in episodes of hepatic decompensation that were significant in multivariate models. This was in response to psychological therapy, use of any pharmacotherapy, and use of any treatment. A meta-analysis of non-randomised studies that examined the impact of psychological therapies revealed statistically non-significant improvements in abstinence (4 studies, OR: 1.87, 95% CI: 0.38–9.23) and mortality (4 studies, OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.12–1.77). Conclusions: Baclofen is the only intervention with randomised trial evidence for significant benefit in patients with cirrhosis. Non-randomised studies also point to non-pharmaceutical interventions possibly improving clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number8
Early online date21 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • alcohol use disorder
  • alcohol-associated hepatitis
  • alcohol-related cirrhosis
  • baclofen
  • meta-analysis
  • pharmacotherapy
  • psychological therapy
  • systematic review

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