If a person had an attack of pancreatitis in the past but is now in good health, is it advisable for him to consume alcoholic beverages? If yes, is there a limit to the amount that is safe?

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In general, if the episode of acute pancreatitis was not due to alcohol consumption and has completely resolved, it would be relatively safe for an individual to resume limited alcohol consumption. The recommendations vary from country to country, but a rule of thumb is a maximal amount of 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.

However, there is more and more evidence that there is no "safe" level of alcohol intake, and that any alcohol intake increases the risk of a range of cancers [1]. Making this more complicated is that there is also data showing that people who drink a moderate amount of alcohol have lower mortality [2]. Therefore, it's unclear whether it would be "advisable" to resume alcohol consumption. The jury is still out on whether it's safe to drink alcohol regularly.

In the event that the pancreatitis was caused by alcohol consumption, then it would be necessary to evaluate whether the person has alcohol use disorder. If the person is diagnosed with this condition, then it would be of course unadvisable for him or her to resume any amount of alcohol consumption.

Finally, in the event that the person has developed chronic pancreatitis from the episode of acute pancreatitis, then cessation of all alcohol intake is recommended. Patients who continue to drink in this situation have increased motality [3].

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