Incidence and Progression of Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease after Medical Therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder

Augustin G.L. Vannier, Jessica E.S. Shay, Vladislav Fomin, Suraj J. Patel, Esperance Schaefer, Russell P. Goodman, Jay Luther

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6 Scopus citations


Importance: Alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) is one of the most devastating complications of alcohol use disorder (AUD), an increasingly prevalent condition. Medical addiction therapy for AUD may play a role in protecting against the development and progression of ALD. Objective: To ascertain whether medical addiction therapy was associated with an altered risk of developing ALD in patients with AUD. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study used the Mass General Brigham Biobank, an ongoing research initiative that had recruited 127480 patients between its start in 2010 and August 17, 2021, when data for the present study were retrieved. The mean follow-up duration from AUD diagnosis was 9.2 years. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision diagnosis codes were used to identify ALD and AUD diagnoses. Exposures: Medical addiction therapy was defined as the documented use of disulfiram, acamprosate, naltrexone, gabapentin, topiramate, or baclofen. Patients were considered to be treated if they initiated medical addiction therapy before the relevant outcome. Main Outcomes and Measures: Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for the development of ALD and hepatic decompensation were calculated and adjusted for multiple risk factors. Results: The cohort comprised 9635 patients with AUD, of whom 5821 were male individuals (60.4%), and the mean (SD) age was 54.8 (16.5) years. A total of 1135 patients (11.8%) had ALD and 3906 patients (40.5%) were treated with medical addiction therapy. In multivariable analyses, medical addiction therapy for AUD was associated with decreased incidence of ALD (aOR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.31-0.43; P <.001). This association was evident for naltrexone (aOR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.46-0.95; P =.03), gabapentin (aOR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.30-0.43; P <.001), topiramate (aOR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.32-0.66; P <.001), and baclofen (aOR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.36-0.88; P =.01). In addition, pharmacotherapy for AUD was associated with lower incidence of hepatic decompensation in patients with cirrhosis (aOR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.23-0.53, P <.001), including naltrexone (aOR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.10-0.64; P =.005) and gabapentin (aOR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.23-0.56; P <.001). This association persisted even when medical addiction therapy was initiated only after the diagnosis of cirrhosis (aOR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.23-0.71; P =.002). Conclusions and Relevance: Results of this study showed that receipt of medical addiction therapy for AUD was associated with reduced incidence and progression of ALD. The associations of individual pharmacotherapy with the outcomes of ALD and hepatic decompensation varied widely..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2213014
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 20 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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