Acute Pancreatitis May Progress to Chronic With Sustained Heavy Alcohol Use

Researchers say intervening early in alcohol-associated acute pancreatitis could prevent further progression
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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with recurrent acute pancreatitis (RAP) and acute pancreatitis (AP) have high lifetime cumulative drinking and heavy daily alcohol use, suggesting disease progression toward chronic pancreatitis, according to a research letter published online Sept. 2 in Gastro Hep Advances.

Esther Adeniran, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the extent of drinking and comorbid conditions in AP and RAP patients to inform intervention strategies. The analysis included 117 people with an AP episode and complete lifetime drinking data.

The researchers found that 23.1 percent of those with AP and 41.5 percent with RAP drank six or more drinks per occasion on a daily basis in the past year. In addition, 25.0 percent of AP and 16.9 percent of RAP patients drank six or more drinks per occasion on a weekly basis. AP patients consumed a median of 17,076 drinks over a lifetime, and RAP patients consumed 32,491 drinks. Alcohol use disorder was diagnosed in 25 percent of AP and 40 percent of RAP patients. Both AP and RAP patients experienced a high rate of independent episodes of RAP (28 and 49 percent, respectively) during a median follow-up period of eight months.

"Our data supports the need for developing an integrated treatment program, which addresses alcohol cessation after the first AP episode," the authors write.

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