Alcohol and substance abuse.Semin Liver Dis 2009; 29(1):66-73SL
Alcoholic liver disease is an important cause of cirrhosis, liver-associated death, and need for liver transplant. Up to 50% of recipients use some alcohol, and perhaps 10% drink addictively. Careful evaluation by an addiction medicine specialist is the best predictive instrument before transplant surgery, whereas the 6-month rule lacks sensitivity and specificity. Addictive drinking, but not minor slips, is associated with increased mortality. There is no standard therapy for alcoholism in alcoholics waiting for a transplant or for those who have undergone a transplant. Stably abstinent, methadone-maintained opiate-dependent patients should continue methadone; are generally good candidates for liver transplant; and show low relapse rates. Pre- and post-transplant smoking rates are high and cause significant morbidity and mortality. Transplant teams should encourage smoking cessation treatments. Marijuana use in liver transplant recipients is common, although risks associated with this practice are unknown.