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Associations between alcohol brief intervention in primary care and drinking and health outcomes in adults with hypertension and type 2 diabetes: a population-based observational study

To evaluate associations between alcohol brief intervention (BI) in primary care and 12-month drinking outcomes and 18-month health outcomes among adults with hypertension and type 2 diabetes (T2D). A population-based observational study using electronic health records data. An integrated healthcare system that implemented system-wide alcohol screening, BI and referral to treatment in adult primary care. Adult primary care patients with hypertension (N=72 979) or T2D (N=19 642) who screened positive for unhealthy alcohol use between 2014 and 2017. We examined four drinking outcomes: changes in heavy drinking days/past 3 months, drinking days/week, drinks/drinking day and drinks/week from baseline to 12-month follow-up, based on results of alcohol screens conducted in routine care. Health outcome measures were changes in measured systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) and BP reduction ≥3 mm Hg at 18-month follow-up. For patients with T2D, we also examined change in glycohaemoglobin (HbA1c) level and ‘controlled HbA1c’ (HbA1c<8%) at 18-month follow-up. For patients with hypertension, those who received BI had a modest but significant additional -0.06 reduction in drinks/drinking day (95% CI -0.11 to -0.01) and additional -0.30 reduction in drinks/week (95% CI -0.59 to -0.01) at 12 months, compared with those who did not. Patients with hypertension who received BI also had higher odds for having clinically meaningful reduction of diastolic BP at 18 months (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.09). Among patients with T2D, no significant associations were found between BI and drinking or health outcomes examined. Alcohol BI holds promise for reducing drinking and helping to improve health outcomes among patients with hypertension who screened positive for unhealthy drinking. However, similar associations were not observed among patients with T2D. More research is needed to understand the heterogeneity across diverse subpopulations and to study BI's long-term public health impact.

Authors: Chi, Felicia W; Weisner, Constance M; Satre, Derek D; Grant, Richard W; Metz, Verena E; Sterling, Stacy A; et al.

BMJ Open. 2023 Jan 19;13(1):e064088. Epub 2023-01-19.

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