The effect of different alcoholic beverages and drinking behaviour on the risk of acute pancreatitis has rarely been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different types of alcoholic beverage in causing acute pancreatitis.


A follow-up study was conducted, using the Swedish Mammography Cohort and Cohort of Swedish Men, to study the association between consumption of spirits, wine and beer and the risk of acute pancreatitis. No patient with a history of chronic pancreatitis was included and those who developed pancreatic cancer during follow-up were excluded. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate rate ratios.


In total, 84 601 individuals, aged 46-84 years, were followed for a median of 10 years, of whom 513 developed acute pancreatitis. There was a dose–response association between the amount of spirits consumed on a single occasion and the risk of acute pancreatitis. After multivariable adjustments, there was a 52 per cent (risk ratio 1·52, 95 per cent confidence interval 1·12 to 2·06) increased risk of acute pancreatitis for every increment of five standard drinks of spirits consumed on a single occasion. The association weakened slightly when those with gallstone-related pancreatitis were excluded. There was no association between consumption of wine or beer, frequency of alcoholic beverage consumption including spirits, or average total monthly consumption of alcohol (ethanol) and the risk of acute pancreatitis.


The risk of acute pancreatitis was associated with the amount of spirits consumed on a single occasion but not with wine or beer consumption. Copyright © 2011 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.