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Harvoni and Alcohol

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I agree with Lynn about the alcohol. As someone who love(d) her red wine at the end of a work day, I quit the very day I got the hepC diagnosis 20 years ago. A sip of champagne at weddings and that's it.

Alcohol while on Harvoni may/probably will inhibit your chance at a full recovery. As others say, it's like pouring gasoline into a fire...

For anyone drinking alcohol I'd ask myself: What is more important to me? Being free of this virus that will eventually shut down my liver or the short-term high from alcohol.?

Also, I think that by drinking alcohol and perhaps relapsing or not achieving SVR, you won't know what really caused it....You're treatment failure or relapse will go into the databases that doctors and patients and drug companies rely on to see how this new drug(any new drug) is doing in the real world. 

In other words, by drinking you're hurting yourself and the thousands of others around the world who are either working night and day to come up with the best treatment, and the scores of patients that are weighing which drug options are best for their genotype and condition...

So please, for your sake---you are worth getting cured---and for the sake of all fellow hepC patients, please get the support you need to stop drinking....



--- Quote from: lporterrn on February 20, 2015, 01:57:38 pm ---Disabled Hep Cat - Although I don't drink and I am concerned about alcohol use and liver disease, I am deeply disturbed by this trend in insurance. It may be left over from the old interferon days when the decision made sense. This current trend is not medically-based and I think it is a way to keep cost down. Denying treatment to people who won't fight back may be a business decision. It fries me.

--- End quote ---

You are the only reply who replied to my post correctly, Your right - Interferon treatment is affected with alcohol intake since it disturbs the immune system. Harvoni attacks the virus directly and has no drug related interactions with alcohol like St Johns Wort or antacids do etc. The bottom line is if you do drink alcohol and have HCV you can destroy your liver 10 fold, however using Harvoni to rid your HCV will drastically reduce liver damage even if you drink. It's discrimination - especially since not eating right can destroy your liver also. I knew how to use whey protein isolate and other liver protecting foods and supplements throughout my years of HCV which kept me from getting Cirrhosis while doing some binge drinking which is protected by drinking coffee.  For we intelligent people the insurance laws do not apply.

Lucinda and DisabledHepCat,

I don't understand your position: We know that alcohol fuels hcv replication. Harvoni, indeed, does directly target the virus. Just imagine, if you will, that H is in our blood scavenging for hcv and while by drinking we are producing more and more virus for it to kill.  Imo, giving it less opportunity for it going deep into the liver or other body organs where the virus sequesters itself.

To me it sort of feels like taking chemo for the lung cancer that is most associated with cigarette smoking and continuing to smoke at the same time.

Is there data to support alcohol consumption not negatively impacting Harvoni SVRs?

 It's a risk that I am not willing to take for myself. 

Re: denying people who drink alcohol. My sense is that the insurance companies associate alcohol use with other high risk behaviors----even if it's an unfair stereotype for particular individuals, I think they want to cover all bases because it's too hard to assess and ascertain that people are living otherwise healthy life-styles---that is, if indeed alcohol does not impact H's effect and SVR---I remain concerned until I see epidemiological studies that look at this

Fwiw, My doctor's nurse practitioner who did the H teaching with me said that alcohol speeds the elimination of H through the body and instructed me not to drink. The written instructions at the top of the patient guidelines page instructed  against alcohol during treatment.

How did this topic come up?

Anybody with HCV who drinks is crazy - with or without Harvoni.

Jeez.... that is a no brainer.

Research is not conclusive regarding alcohol consumption and increased viral loads. In fact, when this topic is investigated via a meta-analysis methods, the following is noted:

"Alcohol has no effect on hepatitis C virus replication: a meta-analysis"


Background: Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who consume large quantities of alcohol have more severe liver disease compared with HCV patients without a history of alcohol consumption. The mechanism by which alcohol worsens HCV related liver disease is not properly understood. One possibility is that alcohol stimulates HCV replication, and the present meta-analysis was performed to examine this issue.

Methods: The effect of alcohol on viral titres was assessed in three ways: comparison of the heaviest drinkers with non-drinkers; effect of graded doses of alcohol; and effect of abstinence in the same individual.

Results: A total of 14 studies were identified. Comparison of patients with the highest alcohol use with the abstinent group showed a significant association with viral load in three studies, five studies had a positive direction, while the remaining four studies found a negative relationship. Analysis of the combined results showed no association between alcohol consumption and virus levels (p = 0.29). Assessment of graded doses of alcohol also showed no significant difference between non-drinkers and moderate drinkers (p = 0.50), between non-drinkers and heavy drinkers (p = 0.35), or between moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers (p = 0.32). Five studies examined the influence of abstinence on viral titres but none provided sufficient data for statistical analysis.

Conclusions: The present study has failed to show an association between alcohol use and HCV viral titres. These observations raise the possibility that the hepatic damage caused by alcohol and HCV may be purely additive, involving different mechanisms and pathways.' "

Best wishes, Mike


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