E-Interventions Lack Sustained Efficacy in Alcohol Misuse
(HealthDay News) — Web-based or CD programs could reduce drinking slightly among adults and college students in the short term, but they appear to be ineffective for reducing binge drinking and the negative social aspects linked with alcohol misuse. The findings were published in the August 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Eric Dedert, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC, and colleagues reviewed 28 previous studies to see if electronic programs were effective. The review included a range of electronic interventions. Interventions were delivered by CD-ROM, desktop computers in clinics, online delivery, mobile applications, or interactive voice response on the phone or computer.
The researchers found that electronic interventions may work slightly to reduce alcohol consumption in the short term. Specifically, for people using electronic interventions, there was evidence of reduced alcohol intake of an average of one less drink per week, with diminishing effects at 12 months. This was true of both college students and non-college adults, Dedert told HealthDay. There was little evidence that electronic interventions led to any significant long-term changes. Few trials reported on other clinically significant outcomes, such as meeting drinking-limit guidelines, fewer binge-drinking episodes, reducing the social consequences of drinking, and cutting alcohol-related health problems.
"The available data provided insufficient evidence in support of a benefit of electronic interventions for these outcomes," Dedert said. In addition, only a few trials have investigated electronic interventions for alcohol use disorders, which are a more severe form of alcohol misuse, he said.