Alloveda Liver Update:  A Rise in Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol‐Associated Liver Disease amid COVID-19 |
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Alloveda Liver Update:  A Rise in Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol‐Associated Liver Disease amid COVID-19

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic has had a huge impact globally over the past few months, since it began in 2019. It is being speculated that the pandemic will not affect all individuals equally, with certain populations being especially sensitive.

Pertaining to liver disease, those with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and alcohol‐associated liver disease (ALD) may experience the most severe impact. This could be attributed to the following: having a greater risk of severe COVID‐19 infection on account of a depressed immune system and high‐risk underlying disorders, deleterious effect of COVID‐19 on the liver, failure to comply with regular visits with providers, diversion of hospital resources, and social isolation, thus resulting in psychological decompensation and increased drinking or relapse.

A rising tide of alcohol relapse, admissions for decompensated ALD, and a hike in newly diagnosed patients with AUD/ALD is thus feared after the COVID‐19 pandemic. Healthcare providers and facilities must endeavor to implement strategies including telehealth and aggressive patient outreach programs early in order to tackle this foreseeable problem.

Liver transplantation (LT) centers need to adapt to the pandemic and may exercise some leniency toward certain LT candidates with ALD who do not have access to appropriate alcohol treatment in the current scenario.

The COVID‐19 pandemic is expected to have an adverse impact on AUD/ALD patients. Timely action can limit the impact of this anticipated problem.

Source: Da BL, Im GY, Schiano TD. COVID‐19 Hangover: A Rising Tide of Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol‐Associated Liver Disease. Hepatology 05 May 2020. doi:10.1002/hep.31307.

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