To test the validity of the generally held belief that moderate consumption of alcohol during convalescence from acute viral hepatitis adversely affects outcome, 87 adults recovering from acute viral hepatitis (hepatitis A in 36, hepatitis B in 34, hepatitis non-A, non-B in 17) were studied. Criteria for entry to the study attempted to ensure that no patient was a chronic hepatitis B carrier. Patients were randomised either to a moderate alcohol intake, or to continued complete abstention. Drinkers consumed 26 g alcohol daily (mean) and none remained abstinent. At 3 months all patients were well, with normal liver function tests. There were no significant differences between the two groups at any time. The findings suggest that moderate alcohol intake during convalescence from acute viral hepatitis does not seem to be harmful.