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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A randomized trial of prednisolone in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis.

BACKGROUND. Controlled trials have yielded inconsistent results with regard to the efficacy of corticosteroids in the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis. Three meta-analyses suggest that they may be effective in patients with encephalopathy who have severe liver disease. METHODS. We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial comparing 28 days of prednisolone treatment (40 mg per day) with placebo in 61 patients with biopsy-proved alcoholic hepatitis and either spontaneous hepatic encephalopathy (n = 19) or a discriminant-function value higher than 32. The discriminant function used was as follows: 4.6 (prothrombin time-control time [in seconds]) + serum bilirubin (in micromoles per liter)/17. Fifty-seven of the patients had evidence of cirrhosis on biopsy. The primary end point was death within two months. RESULTS. One patient was lost to follow-up after 56 days. Treatment was discontinued in two patients because of drug toxicity. By the 66th day after randomization, 16 of 29 placebo recipients had died (mean [+/- SE] survival, 45 +/- 8 percent), as compared with 4 of 32 prednisolone recipients (survival, 88 +/- 5 percent) (log-rank test, 10.9; P = 0.001). The survival advantage for prednisolone persisted after stratification according to center and the presence of encephalopathy, and after adjustment for prognostic factors in a proportional-hazards model. CONCLUSIONS. Treatment with prednisolone improves the short-term survival of patients with severe biopsy-proved alcoholic hepatitis.[1]


  1. A randomized trial of prednisolone in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis. Ramond, M.J., Poynard, T., Rueff, B., Mathurin, P., Théodore, C., Chaput, J.C., Benhamou, J.P. N. Engl. J. Med. (1992) [Pubmed]
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