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Kidney Diseases

Alcohol Consumption Levels After Kidney Transplant

11/23/2010

Question:

I am a practicing Pediatric Psychologist working with Renal transplanted teenagers. One of my patients whom I have been seeing for 3 years, turned 21 and is now of legal drinking age. Besides being small in size due to years of dialysis, and combating low self-esteem, he really wants to drink with his friends and participate in the social interactions associated with his peers. He is very responsible, takes his medications, and is very aware of the dangers and importance in having limits and bounderis. He is very concerned as to whether he is allowed to drink alcohol. My understanding is that one can drink a "moderate" amount of alcohol. How much is moderate? 2 glasses of beer twice a week? 2 shots of Vodka once a week? I am aware of the risks involved in alcohol abuse, however I do not believe this is the case or will be the case with this young adult. Any comprehensive and enlightening answer will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Answer:

Consumption of alcohol is not contraindicated by organ transplantation unless it leads to medical or psychologic dependency that negatively impacts upon the patient's ability to comply with his medical regimen, including immunosuppressive drug therapy. Unfortunately, there is no absolute amount of alcohol consumption that defines a generalizable threshold for dependency.

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Response by:

Donald E Hricik, MD Donald E Hricik, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University