The aim of this study was to evaluate alcohol consumption and narcotics use among patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). A comprehensive literature search was conducted in Medline using relevant keywords. The references of the retrieved articles were also searched to identify additional articles. Only English-language studies that provided evidence on alcohol consumption and/or narcotics use among non-hospitalized IBD patients were included in the present review. Twelve studies were included that examined the use of alcohol among IBD patients. The prevalence of alcohol consumption among IBD patients appeared to be similar to that of the general population. The majority of the studies reported worsening of IBD symptoms among patients who consumed alcoholic beverages. Four studies were identified that evaluated narcotics use as analgesia among IBD patients. Narcotics use was prevalent among IBD patients and correlated with a longer disease duration and comorbid mental illnesses. The available evidence suggests that alcohol consumption may have a deleterious effect on IBD symptoms. Furthermore, a considerable proportion of IBD patients are reported to use a narcotic as analgesia and this was correlated with their mental health status. Further studies are needed to address these important facets of IBD.
Keywords: Crohn's disease; Inflammatory bowel disease; alcohol; narcotics; ulcerative colitis.