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Minerva Gastroenterology 2022 September;68(3):269-76

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5985.21.02885-0

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Substances use disorders and liver injury: a concise review

Gianni TESTINO 1 , Patrizia BALBINOT 1, Rinaldo PELLICANO 2

1 Unit of Addiction and Hepatology, Alcohological Regional Centre, ASL3 c/o San Martino Hospital, Genoa, Italy; 2 Unit of Gastroenterology, Molinette Hospital, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy



Substance use disorders (SUDs) are often associated with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and psychiatric comorbidities. In addition, they are often subjected to polytherapy. For these reasons SUDs patients are at greater risk of developing liver disease. In this concise review, liver damage from amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine and opioids is analyzed and the need to identify a possible associated alcohol use disorder is also suggested. Early identification of liver fibrosis is required in SUDs patients. Fibrosis is the most significant predictor of both prognosis and long-term survival. Its identification helps to promote the abstention from substances and alcohol. Active use of heroin, cocaine and synthetic substances is an absolute contraindication for liver transplantation. In cases of remission and adherence to a significant care path, the patient is re-evaluated. An addiction specialist should be present within the transplant team. If this is not present, a close collaboration with an addiction unit is mandatory.


KEY WORDS: Alcoholism; Liver; Injuries; Fibrosis; Substance-related disorders

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