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Journal Article

Citation

Dunn KE, Harrison JA, Leoutsakos JM, Han D, Strain EC. Alcohol Alcohol. 2016; 52(1): 72-79.

Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins, University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2016, Oxford University Press)

DOI

10.1093/alcalc/agw059

PMID

27567268

Abstract

AIMS: Neither the predictive value of early continuous abstinence in alcohol use disorder (AUD) or the point at which this effect may emerge has been evaluated. This analysis of the Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions (COMBINE) clinical trial evaluated whether abstinence early in treatment was a predictor of longer term abstinence.

METHODS: Participants who stated a goal of total abstinence (N = 954) were dichotomized into Early Abstainer vs. Nonabstainers and were compared on a variety of drinking outcome measures that are frequently used in clinical trial evaluations of alcohol treatment strategies, as a function of duration of early continuous abstinence.

RESULTS: Significant differences existed for every outcome. Early Abstinence was significantly associated with fewer drinks per drinking day, number of drinking and number of heavy drinking days, and longer time to first drinking and first heavy drinking day. Effects were evident within the first week. The magnitude of all effects increased as the duration of early abstinence (1-4 weeks) increased, though the size of increase varied across the outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: These data provide evidence that drinking at the beginning of alcohol treatment is significantly and robustly associated with drinking throughout and at the end of a clinical trial treatment for AUD. Early drinking may be a useful early index to identify whether patients are responding positively to a treatment strategy, and provides a useful method for tailoring treatment to patients that is consistent with a personalized medicine approach.

© The Author 2016. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Language: en

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