A Preliminary Study of Hepatitis B Virus Replication during Short‐Term (7‐Day) Social Drinking

David M. Novick, William J. Jenkins, Peter Karayiannis, Howard C. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of short‐term social drinking on hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication as measured by serum levels of hepatitis B virus DNA (HBV‐DNA). We studied five male carriers of hepatitis B e antigen who were social drinkers. Levels of HBV‐DNA, blood alcohol, and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were measured during abstinence from alcohol, before and during a test dose (29.8 g) of alcohol which followed one week of abstinence, and before and during the same test dose which followed social drinking for one week. We observed no significant changes in HBV‐DNA or AST levels. These data suggest that a single one‐week period of social drinking in patients with chronic HBV infection does not cause enhanced viral replication. The risks of repeated ingestion of moderate amounts of alcohol by such patients have not been established. Interpretation of our data is limited by the small number of subjects, and further studies are needed. Nevertheless, our results are consistent with published recommendations that social drinking by nonalcoholic HBV carriers should be restricted but need not be totally forbidden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-558
Number of pages3
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1987


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