CHARLES E. CHERUBIN, M.D., F.A.C.P.; WILLIAM S. ROSENTHAL, M.D., F.A.C.P.; RICHARD E. STENGER, M.D.; ALFRED M. PRINCE, M.D.; MICHAEL BADEN, M.D.; ROBERT STRAUSS, B.S.; THOMAS G. MCGINN, M.D.
Liver sections from 44 consecutive autopsies of addicts (none died of liver disease) were compared with 28 age-matched nonaddict controls and 28 controls with gross liver abnormalities. Former addicts in a rehabilitation program were followed with liver function and SH/Australia antigen tests; 16 liver biopsies were obtained. Of active addicts, 12 had chronic aggressive hepatitis, 10 chronic persistent hepatitis, and 14 had nonspecific reactive hepatitis. In both control groups, most had normal livers, fatty change, or cirrhosis. In the 16 former addicts, with persistently elevated serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase values or SH/Au antigenemia for 8 months or more after the cessation of drug use, only 3 liver biopsies were normal; the rest showed abnormalities similar to those of the autopsied addicts. The data suggest that a minority of addicts develop histologically severe chronic hepatitis. Most, however, have a moderate histological abnormality that probably continues for a long time, even after cessation of drug use.
CHERUBIN CE, ROSENTHAL WS, STENGER RE, PRINCE AM, BADEN M, STRAUSS R, et al. Chronic Liver Disease in Asymptomatic Narcotic Addicts. Ann Intern Med. ;76:391–395. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-76-3-391
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1972;76(3):391-395.
Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Liver Disease.
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