Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10993435
J. Clin. Gastroenterol. 2000 Sep;31(2):159-61
Narcotic substitution is now widely used. Morphine can induce a spasm of the sphincter of Oddi but dilation of bile duct has been reported only in an anecdotal case. In June 1995, we observed a first case of dilation of the common bile duct without organic obstacle in a hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patient who was under narcotic substitution, suggesting a causal relationship. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the precise prevalence of bile duct abnormalities related to narcotic substitution in active intravenous drug or ex-intravenous drug users referred to our liver unit for histologic evaluation of HCV infection. We conducted a prospective study in a 30-month period of 334 HCV-infected patients, including 36 receiving narcotic substitution with methadone or buprenorphine. Biliary tract was analyzed by ultrasonography and by endoscopy ultrasound in cases of bile duct abnormalities. Of the 36 patients under narcotic substitution, 3 (8.3%) had asymptomatic dilated bile duct without organic obstacle–defined as a common bile duct > or =9 mm–compared to 1 of 298 (0.03%; p < 0.001) of those who did not receive substitution. Narcotic substitution may lead to bile duct dilation that does not require invasive diagnosis procedures.