(HealthDay News) — For patients discharged from the emergency department with a history of hazardous alcohol use, a short message service (SMS) assessment and feedback intervention is beneficial, according to a study published online July 9 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Brian Suffoletto, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues reported three-month outcome data from a randomized trial involving 765 young adult emergency department patients who screened positive for past hazardous alcohol use. Participants were randomized to SMS assessments and feedback (SA+F; 384 participants); SMS assessments (SA; 196 participants); and control (185 participants). The SA+F group responded to drinking-related queries and received real time feedback via SMS; the SA group responded to alcohol-related queries but did not receive feedback; and the control group did not participate in any SMS.

The researchers found that from baseline to three months there was a decrease in the number of self-reported binge drinking days in the SA+F group (−0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.10–−0.95), while there were increases noted in the SA and control groups (0.90 [95% CI, 0.23–1.6] and 0.41 [95% CI, −0.20–1.0], respectively). From baseline to three months, in the SA+F group there were also decreases in the number of self-reported drinks per drinking day (−0.31; 95% CI, −0.07–−0.55) compared with increases in the SA and control groups (0.10 [95% CI, −0.27–0.47] and 0.39 [95% CI, 0.06–0.72], respectively).

“A text message intervention can produce small reductions in self-reported binge drinking and the number of drinks consumed per drinking day in hazardous-drinking young adults after emergency department discharge,” the authors write.

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