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Medications for alcohol use disorder (MAUD) are highly effective in achieving and maintaining abstinence in patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Our aim was to evaluate the effect of MAUD on all-cause mortality in patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis and active alcohol use. This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis and high-risk alcohol use disorder in the Veterans Outcomes and Costs Associated with Liver Disease (VOCAL) database. Propensity score matching for exposure to MAUD (acamprosate or naltrexone) within a year after cirrhosis diagnosis was performed to account for potential confounders, and the association between MAUD and all-cause mortality was subsequently evaluated using Cox regression analysis. A total of 9131 patients were included, of whom 886 (9.7%) were exposed to MAUD (naltrexone: 520, acamprosate: 307, both medications: 59). The duration of MAUD exposure was >3 months in 345 patients (39%). The strongest positive predictor of MAUD prescription was an inpatient diagnosis code for AUD, followed by a concurrent diagnosis of depression; the strongest negative predictor was a history of cirrhosis decompensation. After propensity score matching (866 patients in each group) with excellent covariate balance (absolute standardized mean differences <0.1), MAUD exposure was associated with improved survival, with an HR of 0.80 relative to no MAUD exposure (95% CI: 0.67-0.97, p = 0.024). MAUD are underutilized in patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis with high-risk alcohol use behavior but are associated with improved survival after adjustment for confounders such as the severity of liver disease, age, and engagement in the healthcare system. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.


Anahita Rabiee, Nadim Mahmud, Caroline Falker, Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, Tamar Taddei, David E Kaplan. Medications for alcohol use disorder improve survival in patients with hazardous drinking and alcohol-associated cirrhosis. Hepatology communications. 2023 Apr 01;7(4)

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PMID: 36972386

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