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Persistence of Transaminase Abnormalities in Former Drug Addicts

CHARLES E. CHERUBIN, M.D., F.A.C.P.; SETH KANE, B.A.; DANIEL R. WEINBERGER, B.A.; ELLIOT WOLFE, M.D.; and THOMAS MCGINN, M.D.
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Supported in part by the Health Research Training Program of the New York City Department of Health, through grants from the Health Research Council and the U.S. Public Health Service, Washington, D.C.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Charles E. Cherubin, M.D., Infectious Disease Section, Department of Medicine, Metropolitan Hospital Center, 1901 First Ave., New York, N.Y. 10029.


NEW YORK, NEW YORK


Ann Intern Med. 1972;76(3):385-389. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-76-3-385
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A large group of ex-addicts in residence in a rehabilitation program were studied to determine their medical history of hepatitis, the frequency of SH/Au antigen, and the prevalence of liver malfunction. Fifty percent of our population had a history of hepatitis while using drugs. Among the whites, 58.4% had had hepatitis, whereas only 26% of the nonwhites had such a history. The frequency of SH/Au antigen by Ouchterlony technique (1.2/100) was consistent with that of previous studies. There was a significant decline in serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) values as a function of time free of drug and needle use. There was a 40% frequency of abnormal results (> 50 Karmen units/ml) in tests taken soon after entry into the program; in tests taken after 4 months and up to a year there was a 20% frequency of abnormal results. The persistent abnormal SGPT results and liver biopsy findings in several residents with persistently elevated transaminases showed a high frequency of chronic inflammatory liver disease among the population.

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