Does Advice Based on Biomarkers of Liver Injury or Non-Invasive Tests of Liver Fibrosis Impact High-Risk Drinking Behaviour: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis

Mohsan Subhani*, Holly Knight, Stephen Ryder, Joanne R. Morling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and Aims: Alcohol dependence affects over 240 million people worldwide and attributed to 3 million deaths annually. Early identification and intervention are key to prevent harm. We aim to systematically review literature on the effectiveness of adding advice based on biomarkers of liver injury or non-invasive tests of liver fibrosis (intervention-based advice) to prevent alcohol misuse. Methods: Electronic search was conducted on Ovid Medline, PubMed, EMBASE, Psychinfo and CINAHL for articles published up to end of February 2020. Additionally, we searched study citations, Scopus, Ethos and Clinical trials. The primary outcome measure was changed in self-reported alcohol consumption analysed by random-effects meta-analysis. Secondary outcomes included change to liver blood markers and alcohol-related health outcomes. Results: Fourteen randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and two observational studies comprising n = 3763 participants were included. Meta-analyses showed a greater reduction in alcohol consumption and liver biomarkers for the intervention compared to control group: mean difference for weekly alcohol intake was -74.4 g/week (95% confidence interval (CI) -126.1, -22.6, P = 0.005) and mean difference for gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) -19.7 IU/l (95% CI -33.1, -6.4, P = 0.004). There was a higher incidence of alcohol-attributed mortality, number of days spent in the hospital, physician visits and sickness absence in the non-intervention group. The quality of the included studies was moderate for RCTs and high for observational studies. Conclusions: The review confirmed a significant association between the addition of intervention-based advice in routine care to the reduction of harmful alcohol consumption, GGT and alcohol-related mortality. The findings support the inclusion of this type of advice in routine alcohol care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-200
Number of pages16
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Alison Ashmore, senior research librarian (Nottingham University Libraries), contributed to finalizing the search strategy. The abstract has been submitted to the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) 2020 annual conference.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


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