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Friday, May 13, 2011

Brief Interventions in Dependent Drinkers: A Comparative Prospective Analysis in Two Hospitals

To investigate whether brief interventions (BIs) delivered by a dedicated Alcohol Specialist Nurse (ASN) to non-treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent patients in an acute hospital setting are effective in reducing alcohol consumption and dependence.  

A prospective cohort control study in two acute NHS Hospital Trusts in the North West England, one of which provided BI (university teaching hospital—test site) while the other did not (district general hospital—control site), including follow-up BIs. Subjects were alcohol-dependent patients aged ≥18 years.  

A total of 100 patients were recruited at each site. No differences were found between the groups in the baseline demographic parameters or medical co-morbidities. At the test site, further sessions were sometimes offered, and 46 patients received more than one intervention (median 4, mean 6.3 and maximum 20). At 6 months, alcohol consumption (P < 0.0001), Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tool (AUDIT) score (P < 0.0001) and Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire score (P = 0.0001) were significantly lower at the test site than the control site. Outcomes were found to be independent of both the baseline level of dependence and medical co-morbidity. 

BI delivered by a dedicated ASN for non-treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent individuals, who often have significant medical co-morbidities, seem to be effective in an acute hospital setting. This study provides a framework to inform the design of a future randomized controlled trial. 

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