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Cover of Screening, Behavioral Counseling, and Referral in Primary Care To Reduce Alcohol Misuse

Screening, Behavioral Counseling, and Referral in Primary Care To Reduce Alcohol Misuse

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 64

Investigators: , MD, MPH, , MD, , PhD, , MSPH, , PhD, , MSPH, , MD, MPH, , MS, , MPH, , MPH, , MPH, , MOP, , BA, and , MD, MPH.

RTI International–University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center
Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 12-EHC055-EF

Structured Abstract

Objectives:

To assess the effectiveness of screening followed by behavioral counseling for adolescents and adults with alcohol misuse in primary care settings.

Data Sources:

MEDLINE®, Embase®, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL®, PsycINFO®. Additional studies were identified from reference lists and technical experts.

Review Methods:

Two people independently selected, extracted data from, and rated the quality of relevant trials and systematic reviews. Quantitative analyses were conducted for outcomes when feasible and used subgroup analyses to explore whether results differed by intensity, sex, country, person delivering the counseling, or setting. Two reviewers graded the strength of evidence (SOE).

Results:

A total of 23 trials and six systematic reviews were included. The trials generally enrolled subjects with risky/hazardous drinking, usually excluding those with alcohol dependence. Among adults receiving interventions, consumption decreased by 3.6 drinks per week (weighted mean difference [WMD], 3.6, 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.4 to 4.8), 12 percent fewer subjects reported heavy drinking episodes (risk difference 0.12, 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.16), and 11 percent more subjects reported drinking beneath recommended limits (risk difference, 0.11, 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.13) over 12 months compared with controls (moderate SOE). Interventions improved some utilization outcomes (e.g., hospital days and costs: low SOE). For most health outcomes, available evidence either demonstrated no difference between interventions and controls (e.g., mortality: low SOE) or was insufficient to draw conclusions (e.g., accidents, injuries, alcohol-related liver problems: insufficient SOE). The best evidence of effectiveness is for brief (generally, 10 to 15 minutes) multicontact interventions.

For older adults, trials provided evidence of effectiveness, but effect sizes were smaller than for all adults. Trials enrolling college students provided evidence of effectiveness for reducing consumption and heavy drinking episodes (moderate SOE) and some accident, utilization, and academic outcomes (low, low, and moderate SOE, respectively). Studies in adults found benefits lasting several years; for college students, some benefits found at 6 months were no longer significantly different for intervention versus control groups at 12 months. The one study enrolling pregnant women did not find a significant difference for reduction in consumption. Evidence was insufficient for adolescent populations.

No studies randomized subjects, practices, or providers to screening and a comparator, and none of the included studies reported followup with referrals as an outcome.

Conclusions:

Behavioral counseling interventions improve behavioral outcomes for adults with risky/hazardous drinking. For most health outcomes, available evidence either found no difference between interventions and controls or was insufficient to draw conclusions. The best evidence of effectiveness is for brief multicontact interventions.

Contents

540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850; www​.ahrq.gov

Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, Contract No. 290-2007-10056-I. Prepared by: RTI International–University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center, Research Triangle Park, NC

Suggested citation:

Jonas DE, Garbutt JC, Brown JM, Amick HR, Brownley KA, Council CL, Viera AJ, Wilkins TM, Schwartz CJ, Richmond ER, Yeatts J, Swinson Evans T, Wood SD, Harris RP. Screening, Behavioral Counseling, and Referral in Primary Care to Reduce Alcohol Misuse. Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 64. (Prepared by the RTI International–University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-2007-10056-I.) AHRQ Publication No. 12-EHC055-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. July 2012. www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/reports/final.cfm.

This report is based on research conducted by the RTI International–University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Contract No. 290-2007-10056-I). The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s), who are responsible for its contents; the findings and conclusions do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. Therefore, no statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The information in this report is intended to help health care decisionmakers—patients and clinicians, health system leaders, and policymakers, among others—make well-informed decisions and thereby improve the quality of health care services. This report is not intended to be a substitute for the application of clinical judgment. Anyone who makes decisions concerning the provision of clinical care should consider this report in the same way as any medical reference and in conjunction with all other pertinent information, i.e., in the context of available resources and circumstances presented by individual patients.

This report may be used, in whole or in part, as the basis for development of clinical practice guidelines and other quality enhancement tools, or as a basis for reimbursement and coverage policies. AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of such derivative products or actions may not be stated or implied.

None of the investigators has any affiliations or financial involvement that conflicts with the material presented in this report.

1

540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850; www​.ahrq.gov

Bookshelf ID: NBK99199PMID: 22876371
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