Combination therapy may be no better for those with severe alcoholic hepatitis

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Posted: Friday, September 13, 2013 10:50 am | Updated: 11:03 am, Fri Sep 13, 2013.

Four weeks of treatment with a combination of the drug pentoxifylline and the corticosteroid prednisolone did not improve survival compared with just prednisolone in 270 patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis.

Treatment of severe forms of alcoholic hepatitis is challenging due to the poor outcome. U.S. and European guidelines suggest using prednisolone or pentoxifylline, but still a large number of patients die after six months regardless of first-line therapy.

Because of the lack of difference in survival and other outcomes, “Our study does not support the use of a combination of pentoxifylline and prednisolone for severe alcoholic hepatitis. Future studies with an appropriate design are needed to provide robust data for developing new strategies to improve the outcome of patients with this life-threatening disease,” Philippe Mathurin, MD, of the Hopital Hurlez, Lille, France and colleagues, were quoted as saying.

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