Alcohol-Related Liver Disease in the Covid-19 Era: Position Paper of the Italian Society on Alcohol (SIA)

Dig Dis Sci. 2022 Jun;67(6):1975-1986. doi: 10.1007/s10620-021-07006-1. Epub 2021 Jun 17.


Background: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), firstly reported in China last November 2019, became a global pandemic. It has been shown that periods of isolation may induce a spike in alcohol use disorder (AUD). In addition, alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is the most common consequence of excessive alcohol consumption worldwide. Moreover, liver impairment has also been reported as a common manifestation of COVID-19.

Aims: The aim of our position paper was to consider some critical issues regarding the management of ALD in patients with AUD in the era of COVID-19.

Methods: A panel of experts of the Italian Society of Alcohology (SIA) met via "conference calls" during the lockdown period to draft the SIA's criteria for the management of ALD in patients with COVID-19 as follows: (a) liver injury in patients with ALD and COVID-19 infection; (b) toxicity to the liver of the drugs currently tested to treat COVID-19 and the pharmacological interaction between medications used to treat AUD and to treat COVID-19; (c) reorganization of the management of compensated and decompensated ALD and liver transplantation in the COVID-19 era.

Results and conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly carried us toward a new governance scenario of AUD and ALD which necessarily requires an in-depth review of the management of these diseases with a new safe approach (management of out-patients and in-patients following new rules of safety, telemedicine, telehealth, call meetings with clinicians, nurses, patients, and caregivers) without losing the therapeutic efficacy of multidisciplinary treatment.

Keywords: ALD and SARS-CoV-2; Alcohol use disorder; Alcohol-related liver cirrhosis; Alcohol-related liver disease; Management of AUD; SARS-CoV-2 infection.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism* / complications
  • Alcoholism* / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism* / therapy
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic* / epidemiology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic* / therapy
  • Pandemics