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Pharmacotherapy for Adults With Alcohol-Use Disorders in Outpatient Settings [Internet]

Pharmacotherapy for Adults With Alcohol-Use Disorders in Outpatient Settings [Internet]

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US)

Version: May 2014


The methods for this comparative effectiveness review (CER) follow the methods suggested in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) “Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews” (http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/methodsguide.cfm).


Below, we summarize the main findings and strength of evidence (SOE). We then discuss the findings in relation to what is already known, applicability of the findings, implications for decisionmaking, limitations, research gaps, and conclusions. When we have graded evidence as insufficient, it indicates that evidence is either unavailable, does not permit estimation of an effect, or does not permit us to draw a conclusion with at least a low level of confidence. It does not indicate that a treatment has been proven to lack efficacy.

Executive Summary

Alcohol misuse, or unhealthful alcohol use, which includes the full spectrum from drinking above recommended limits (i.e., risky/hazardous drinking) to alcohol dependence,, is associated with numerous health and social problems, more than 85,000 deaths per year in the United States,, and an estimated annual cost to society of more than $220 billion., Alcohol misuse is estimated to be the third leading cause of preventable mortality in the United States, following tobacco use and being overweight. For this report, we use the definitions of alcohol misuse in Table A.


Results of our searches appear in Figure 2. We included 167 published articles reporting on 135 studies. Of the included studies, 124 were randomized controlled trials, 5 were observational studies, and 6 were systematic reviews. Additional details describing the included studies are provided in the relevant sections of this results chapter.

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