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Am J Med. 2010 Jan;123(1):72-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.08.012.

Efficacy of physician-delivered brief counseling intervention for binge drinkers.

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Department of Psychiatry, Complutense University of Madrid, Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.



Binge drinking is a common pattern of alcohol use in the US. However, no studies have evaluated the effectiveness of brief interventions targeting only binge drinkers.


Randomized controlled clinical trial with a 12-month follow-up period conducted from March 1, 2003 to March 1, 2006 in Spain. Of a screened population of 15,325 patients seeking routine medical care from their primary care providers, patients who met inclusion criteria were randomized into an experimental group (n=371) or a control group (n=381). The primary outcome measures were the frequency of binge drinking episodes and weekly alcohol intake.


There were no significant differences at baseline between groups in alcohol use and demographic variables. At the end of the 12-month follow-up period, there were significant reductions in binge-drinking status (52.2% vs 67.2%, P <.001), number of episodes of binge drinking (1.14 vs 1.56, P <.001), number of drinks weekly (19.2 vs 22.4, P <.001), and frequency of excessive alcohol intake in 7 days (47.9% vs 66.6%, P >.001).


This study provided evidence that screening and brief counseling delivered by a primary care physician as part of regular health care significantly reduced binge drinking episodes in binge drinkers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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