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J Psychiatr Pract. 2006 Mar;12(2):80-9.

The BRENDA model: integrating psychosocial treatment and pharmacotherapy for the treatment of alcohol use disorders.

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University of Pennsylvania, PA 19104, USA.


While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several medications for the treatment of alcohol-related problems, their use has not gained wide acceptance in the United States. Typically, patients with alcohol use disorders are only referred to psychosocial support (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous). However, the use of pharmacotherapy may complement psychosocial treatments, as evidence shows that pharmacotherapy can improve treatment outcomes. The effectiveness of pharmacotherapy depends on patient compliance with taking the medication and the context in which the medication is administered. BRENDA is a psychosocial program designed specifically to be used by many types of healthcare providers, including primary care clinicians. Designed to enhance medication and treatment compliance, BRENDA is an ideal approach for use in conjunction with pharmacotherapy. The BRENDA approach has 6 components: 1) a biopsychosocial evaluation; 2) a report of findings from the evaluation given to the patient; 3) empathy; 4) addressing patient needs; 5) providing direct advice; and 6) assessing patient reaction to advice and adjusting the treatment plan as needed. This paper describes these components and discusses how the empirical support for each component is linked to the enhancement of medication compliance and the improvement of treatment outcomes.

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