Mortality and drug exposure in a 5-year cohort of patients with chronic liver disease

Swiss Med Wkly. 2009 Dec 26;139(51-52):737-46.


Background: Chronic liver diseases are common in the general population. Drug treatment in this group may be challenging, as many drugs are hepatically metabolised and hepatotoxic.

Objectives: We aimed to assess the mortality of patients with chronic liver disease according to specific drug exposures and the three laboratory parameters creatinine, bilirubin and International Normalised Ratio (INR).

Methods: We conducted a multicentre, 5-year retrospective cohort study in two tertiary university referral hospitals and a secondary referral hospital, using a research database to evaluate the crude and adjusted mortality.

Results: Of 1159362 individual patients 1.7% (n = 20158) had chronic liver disease and in this group 36.8% had unspecified chronic non-alcoholic liver disease, 30.1% chronic hepatitis C and 11.9% cirrhosis of the liver. 8.4% of patients presented a diagnosis associated with alcohol. The 4-year survival rates were significantly higher in the group with the most normal laboratory values (94.3%) versus 34.5% in the group with elevated parameters (p <0.001). Overall, drug exposure was not associated with higher mortality; in adjusted multivariate analysis the hazard ratio for anti-cancer drugs was 2.69 (95% CI 1.32-5.46). Of individual drugs, mortality hazard ratios for amiodarone, morphine oral, acetazolamide, sirolimus and lamivudine were 2.46 (95% CI 1.68-3.61), 2.26 (95% CI 1.78-2.86), 2.10 (95% CI 1.19-3.70), 1.81 (95% CI 1.02-3.21) and 1.72 (95% CI 1.17-2.53) respectively.

Conclusions: Drug exposure in general was not associated with higher mortality except for a few categories. Mortality in patients with chronic liver disease was high and is associated with simple laboratory values.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / chemically induced
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality*
  • Prescription Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology


  • Prescription Drugs