Trial of Anakinra (Plus Zinc), or Prednisone in Patients With Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis


About this study

Severe AH continues to be associated with a high mortality and represents a significant public health burden. Prednisone is the standard of care but is associated with a modest and transient survival benefit at best and increased risk of severe bacterial and fungal infections. A recent large study indicated that pentoxifylline is not significantly superior to placebo. While several new targets are being evaluated, they are not sufficiently powered to provide definitive data.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

1. AH, as defined by the NIAAA pan-consortia for AH6:

1. Onset of jaundice (defined as serum total bilirubin >3 mg/dL) within the prior 8 weeks to screening visit

2. Regular consumption of alcohol with an intake of > 40 gm daily or >280gm weekly on average for women and > 60 gm daily or >420gm weekly on average for men for 6 months or more, with less than 8 weeks of abstinence before onset of jaundice

3. AST > 50 IU/l

4. AST:ALT > 1.5 and both values < 400 IU/l

5. and/or histological evidence of AH*

2. MELD 20-35 on day of randomization.

3. Ages >21

- In patients with possible AH or AH with confounding factors such as possible ischemic hepatitis, possible DILI, uncertain history of alcohol use (e.g., patient denies excessive alcohol use), and atypical/abnormal laboratory tests (e.g., AST < 50 IU/L or > 400 IU/L, AST/ALT ratio < 1.5), antinuclear antibody > 1:160 or SMA > 1:80, a standard of care liver biopsy may be performed during current hospital admission to confirm AH and exclude competing etiologies

Exclusion Criteria:

1. MELD SCORE <  35

2. Active sepsis (positive blood or ascitic cultures) with Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) or hemodynamic compromise requiring intravenous pressors to maintain tissue perfusion

3. Pneumonia as evidenced by radiological exam

4. Multi-organ failure

5. Renal failure defined by GFR <35 mL/min by CKD-EPI.

6. Clinically active C. diff infection

7. History of imaging of the liver (ultrasound, computerized tomography or magnetic resonance) showing other causes of jaundice

8. History of other liver diseases including hepatitis B (positive HBsAg or HBV DNA), hepatitis C (positive HCV RNA), autoimmune hepatitis, Wilson disease, genetic
\hemochromatosis, alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency or strong suspicion of Drug Induced Liver Injury (DILI). Previously treated hepatitis C that was cured (sustained
virological response with negative RNA ≥24 weeks following treatment) is not an exclusion.

9. History of HIV infection (positive HIV RNA or on treatment for HIV infection)

10. History or presence of cancer (including hepatocellular carcinoma) other than non-melanoma skin cancer

11. History of other significant medical problems such as autoimmune diseases, severe asthma, psoriasis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), etc. that might require
immunosuppressive treatments

12. Pregnancy or breastfeeding

13. Prior exposure to experimental therapies in last 3 months

14. Prior exposure to systemic corticosteroid (glucocorticoid) or immunosuppressive therapy for more than 4 days within previous 30 days

15. Need for inotropic pressor support to maintain perfusion to critical organs within prior 48 hours before randomization and initiation of experimental treatment

16. Clinically significant pancreatitis- abdominal pain, elevated lipase (> 3 X ULN) and at least edema of pancreas with fat-stranding on CT scan

17. Total WBC count > 30,000/mm^3

18. Known allergy or intolerance to therapeutic agents to be tested

19. Inability to voluntarily obtain informed consent from participant or guardian

20. Perceived inability to follow study procedures and comply with protocol

21. Platelet count < 40,000 k/cumm.

22. Positive PCR test for COVID -19 within 7 days prior to the baseline day 0 visit

23. Active gastrointestinal bleeding defined as hematemesis or melena with adecrease in hemoglobin more than 2 g/dl in 24 hrs. Due to gastrointestinal bleeding, or with a decrease in mean arterial BP to < 65 mmHg.

- Positive test is exclusionary only during screening period. If a patient tests positive any time after baseline randomization, a positive PCR test for COVID-19 will be considered as a SAE.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Vijay Shah, M.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Amy Olofson R.N.


Jacksonville, Fla.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Liu Yang, M.B.B.S.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Robert Brannock B.S.

Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Hugo Vargas, M.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Jill Weidknecht R.N.

(480) 342-3007

More information


Publications are currently not available