A randomized, single-blind controlled multicenter study of insulin and glucagon infusion was carried out in 66 patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis. Thirty-three patients were treated with insulin 10 U and glucagon 1 mg in 500 ml 5% glucose in water via a peripheral vein for 2-6 h three times every day for 3 weeks. Patients in the control group received 5% glucose in an identical fashion. Fourteen control patients and five treated patients died from liver failure during the study (P < 0.02). Clinical features of liver disease on entry into the study were similar in the two groups, but the total serum bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase activities and prothrombin time significantly improved in the treated patients (P < 0.05). Insulin and glucagon infusion appears to be a promising treatment of acute alcoholic hepatitis.
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