Impact of Chronic Alcohol and Opioid Dependence on Biochemical Parameters: A Retrospective Case Control Study from a Tertiary Care Treatment Center in North India

Document Type : Original Article


National Drug Dependence Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry, India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India


Background: Assessment of biochemical parameters can help in the comprehensive management of patients with substance use disorders (SUDs). The aim of this study was to analyse the biochemical parameters of patients with alcohol and opioid dependence at an addiction treatment facility.
Methods: This retrospective study analysed the investigation reports of male patients (aged 18 to 70 years) who visited outpatient department (OPD) with primary diagnosis as opioid dependence syndrome (ODS) or alcohol dependence syndrome (ADS). The data included liver function tests (LFTs), kidney function tests (KFTs), and electrolyte tests conducted in the laboratory in a span of one year.
Findings: The study included 713 ADS, 654 ODS, and 227 controls. The ADS group showed significant elevations in mean values of bilirubin, aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) as compared to other groups. A significant decrease in albumin levels in ADS group and raised potassium levels in ODS group was observed. De Ritis ratio above threshold (AST/ALT > 2.0) alone and along with raised GGT levels was observed among 11.3% and 9.7% of patients with ADS, respectively (P < 0.001). Electrolyte abnormalities were present in about 20% of patients with ADS and ODS as compared to 8.4% among controls (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: LFT and electrolyte abnormalities are frequently observed in patients with alcohol and opioid dependence. De Ritis ratio along with raised GGT levels significantly denotes ADS group. These results merit attention in the course of clinical care of alcohol and opioid-dependent patients.