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Liver damage due to alcohol and TB medication - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2586 Questions
User :   I have latent TB and taking INH as treatment. It says to avoid alcohol which I have been doing. I started in July and finish at the end of March. I just turned 21 and have been drinking occasionally for the past 12 days. Is there really any harm in drinking occasionally as long as I am still taking the medication?
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   let me read your query
Doctor :   usually INH can cause hepatic damage over some time
Doctor :   this is called as hepatitis
User :   what about liver disease?
Doctor :   taking alcohol along with INH can increase the chances of liver damage
Doctor :   hepatitis is a form of liver disease
User :   my doctor tested my liver before treatment, in october and in july
User :   but they are not testing it anymore, i am just supposed to finish the INH at the end of march and then everything is done
Doctor :   yes that is done as a protocol, to know the baseline before initiating the treatment
Doctor :   initially you will be on a larger dosage of INH
User :   so can i still drink on occasion for this last month and a half?
Doctor :   HENCE they do check it more frequently
User :   ok
Doctor :   but once they know that your body has accepted the medication, and the risk of hepatitis, is low , hence they check it less often
User :   so i know the doctors say to avoid alcohol, but is there a large chance I will have big liver problems?
Doctor :   all this is based on clinical decision making
Doctor :   no
Doctor :   the chances of having liver damage , for a single episode of alcohol intake is very less
User :   what about once or twice a week?
Doctor :   also drinking moderately for once or twice a week is also fine
Doctor :   each time, you should not exceed 1 or 2 drinks
Doctor :   but you should refrain from binge drinking
User :   ok
User :   and what about stopping the treatment a week early? i have spring break the week before i finish treatment
User :   or should i just finish it off and drink moderately
User :   over break
Doctor :   you should consider to finish the treatment at any cost
Doctor :   this is in order to prevent reactivation of the condition
Doctor :   you can finish the course and then , drink moderately
User :   so alcohol does not cause the INH to be less effective correct? it adds extra stress to the liver?
Doctor :   no
Doctor :   intake of alcohol cannot affect the efficasy of INH
Doctor :   BUT it does cause more work on the liver
User :   and i wont have any signs of liver damage until i have blood in my urine, etc?
Doctor :   the signs of liver damage include RUQ pain, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, etc
Doctor :   there is no blood in the urine
Doctor :   presence of these signs indicate that the liver is being affected
User :   ok i understand
Doctor :   Is there anything else i can help you with
User :   nope that covered it!
User :   thank you so much!
Doctor :   you are most welcome
Doctor :   thanks for consulting me here
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