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Home > Clinical question: What are the effects of brief interventions in heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital wards?

Magalhães, Pedro V [The Cochrane Library] . (2015) Clinical question: What are the effects of brief interventions in heavy alcohol users admitted to general hospital wards? London: Wiley. Cochrane Clinical Answers

URL: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cca/doi/10.1002/cc...

Randomized controlled trials indicate that brief interventions are more effective than usual care in reducing alcohol intake and mortality between three months and one year in male inpatients who screen positive for harmful drinking.

Participants were “heavy alcohol users” – but not with a diagnosis of dependence ‐ admitted for reasons other than treatment of an alcohol related disorder and mostly male; interventions were counselling‐type, delivered by a variety of health professionals and restricted between one to five sessions. Most trials reported outcomes related to alcohol consumption or mortality, with insufficient data on other outcomes of interest such as alcohol injuries, legal problems and quality of life.

Eight trials involving 2500 participants found that participants in the brief intervention group consumed less alcohol at six and nine months, but not at one year. Three studies involving 700 participants presented self‐report data on alcohol consumption; the brief intervention group reported less consumption at one year, but not at three or six months follow‐up. Results on effects on heavy/binge drinking at up to 1 year were inconclusive; one trial (511 participants) showed reductions in heavy drinking episodes in people receiving brief interventions and another (287 participants) suggested there was no reduction in binge drinking episodes.

Nine studies involving 4600 participants reported overall mortality; there were fewer deaths in the intervention group at six months and one year follow‐up.


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