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Significant investment in advertising has been made to promote the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but only 0.5% of the GDP is allocated for preventing alcohol use. Although available evidence clearly demonstrates a causal relationship between ethanol and cancer, the perception of risk in the general population remains extremely low. This is partly due to the fact that alcohol consumption is considered as a "normal" habit in our society, mostly as a consequence of the lack of appropriate information. It should also be emphasized the lack of a common language within the healthcare community, in that too often alcohol is identified as a food or a preservative. The fourth edition of the RDA represents a true cultural revolution as it identifies alcohol consumption as a risk, regardless of the amount consumed. Recommended dosages are defined as low-risk dosages. It would be appropriate to correctly apply the Law 125/2001, which provides for inclusion of alcoholism in university education programs.

Testino G.,Centro Alcologico Regionale | Leone S.,University of Genoa | Borro P.,Centro Alcologico Regionale
Minerva Medica | Year: 2016

Alcohol is one of the top three priority areas for public health worldwide. Alcohol is the second leading cause of liver disease, and 45-60% of cirrhosis deaths are alcohol related. In the United States it represents 30% of liver transplants and in Europe 50%. Twenty to 40% of cases of steatosis evolve into steatohepatitis, and 18-20% directly into liver cirrhosis; 20-40% of cases of steatohepatitis evolve into cirrhosis and 4-5% into hepatocellular carcinoma. This cascade of events takes 5 to 40 years. The temporal variability is related to the genetic pattern of the subject and the presence of associated risk factors. Thirty to 40% of patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) suffer from HCV, and 70% of HCV patients have a history of risky/harmful alcohol consumption. A severe clinical condition is certainly the overlap of acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) with a framework of HCV-related chronic hepatitis: acute chronic liver failure (ACLF). In the case of decompensated cirrhosis, severe AAH or ACLF non responder to medical therapy the indication, in selected patients, is certainly liver transplantation (LT). ALD treatment is important, but not very effective if abstention is not reached. In case of liver disease related or correlated to LT such as decompensated cirrhosis, severe AAH or ACLF the possibility of anticraving therapy is restricted to metadoxine and baclofen. In all alcohol use disorder patients with ALD psycho-social therapy and attendance at SHG groups it is mandatory, even in post-transplant period. © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA.

Testino G.,Centro Alcologico Regionale | Patussi V.,World Health Organization | Patussi V.,Centro Alcologico Regionale | Scafato E.,World Health Organization
Recenti Progressi in Medicina | Year: 2013

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is the second most common diagnosis among patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT) in Europe and in the United States. The outcome of patients transplanted for ALD is at least as good as that for most other diagnoses and better than that for hepatitis C virus. In case of severe acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH) non-responders to medical therapy, the reason for denying LT is that it requires abstinence from alcohol for six months before consideration for a transplant. A strict application of a period of abstinence as a policy for transplant eligibility is unfair to non-responder patients, as most of them will have died prior to the end of the sixmonth sober period. In our opinion, in severe AAH subjects with a good social support, with the frequency of self-help groups (alcoholics anonymous or association of clubs of alcoholics in treatment), with the frequency of Alcohol Unit and without severe psychotic or personality disorders, the lack of pre-LT abstinence alone should not be a barrier against being listed. © Pensiero Scientifico.

Testino G.,Centro Alcologico Regionale | Leone S.,University of Genoa | Borro P.,Centro Alcologico Regionale
Minerva Medica | Year: 2014

Alcohol dependence (AD) is a major public health problem. Currently, three drugs for the treatment of AD have been approved by both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): acamprosate, disulfiram, and oral naltrexone. The FDA also approved the use of longacting injectable naltrexone. In Austria and in Italy sodium oxybate is also approved. The EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has recently granted marketing authorization for nalmefene for the reduction of alcohol consumption. Many patients, while accepting the problem, are unable or unwilling to completely stop consuming alcohol, leading to an inevitable deterioration over time of their psycho-physical state, and social and family relationships. It is appropriate to offer these patients the opportunity to significantly reduce their consumption of alcohol. The reduction may be an opportunity to prepare the individual for achieving complete abstinence. Abstinence should always be the main goal. Currently, nalmefene is the only drug that has been authorized for the reduction of alcohol consumption. Its association with psycho-social support is mandatory; it is taken on an "asneeded" basis, which should preferably be 1-2 hours before the possible intake of alcohol. The trials showed a significant reduction in alcohol consumption, which resulted in a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality. Reducing consumption allows a decrease in the progression of numerous alcohol-induced chronic diseases, as well as a reduction in psycho-physical damage, acts of violence, motor vehicle accidents, and accidents at work, which in turn means fewer healthcare costs.

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