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Ann Fam Med. 2008 Sep-Oct;6(5):435-40. doi: 10.1370/afm.884.

An intervention for treating alcohol dependence: relating elements of Medical Management to patient outcomes with implications for primary care.

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Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addiction, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA.



Alcohol dependence, frequently seen in medical settings, is a major problem that affects the health and well-being of many individuals and their families. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between treatment outcomes and patient and clinician factors specifically associated with a medically oriented intervention given for the treatment of alcohol dependence. The intervention was developed for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-sponsored COMBINE Study, a randomized controlled trial combining 2 medications, naltrexone and acamprosate, with Medical Management, with or without specialty alcohol treatment.


We examined the effect of patient adherence to treatment (number of Medical Management visits, total minutes in treatment, alliance or therapeutic relationship with the clinician, patient satisfaction with treatment, and clinician adherence to the Medical Management protocol) on abstinence from alcohol, amount of heavy drinking, and clinical improvement during treatment.


More Medical Management visits attended and less total time spent in Medical Management treatment was associated with more days of abstinence from alcohol, reductions in heavy alcohol drinking, and a higher likelihood of clinical improvement. The patients' positive perceptions of their alliance with their clinician and their satisfaction with treatment was significantly associated with more days of abstinence from alcohol during treatment. Two clinician factors clinician confidence in the Medical Management treatment and flexibility in delivering Medical Management were also associated with better patient outcomes.


Medically trained clinicians with minimal specialty training in alcohol dependence treatments were able to deliver a brief and effective medication management intervention that was designed to be consistent with primary care practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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