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The impact of rifaximin on inflammation and metabolism in alcoholic hepatitis: A randomized clinical trial

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is characterized by acute liver failure, neurocognitive impairment and renal failure. Severe inflammatory reactions are also known to occur in AH. Inflammation and bacterial translocation in the gut are thought to have major impact on disease development and progression. The mortality rate for AH is close to 50%. We aimed to assess the efficacy of rifaximin in treating AH and its impact on inflammation and metabolism.

METHODS: The trial was approved by relevant authorities (EudraCT no: 2014-02264-33, Scientific Ethics Committee, jr. no: H-1-2014-056). Primary outcomes were changes in metabolic and inflammatory markers. Secondary outcomes were portal hypertension, kidney and neurocognitive function.

RESULTS: Thirty-two patients were randomized to standard medical therapy (SMT) or SMT plus rifaximin, allocation was concealed. Four patients in the SMT group and five patients in the SMT + rifaximin group died due to AH and liver failure. No adverse events related to the study medication were observed. We found no significant differences in amino acids or inflammation markers (IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α, interferon-γ) between the groups after 28 and 90 days.

CONCLUSION: Rifaximin does not alter inflammation or metabolism in patients with AH.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0264278
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2022

ID: 75599532