Background: Binge drinking is a common pattern of alcohol use in the US. However, no studies have evaluated the effectiveness of brief interventions targeting only binge drinkers.
Methods: Randomized controlled clinical trial with a 12-month follow-up period conducted from March 1, 2003 to March 1, 2006 in Spain. Of a screened population of 15,325 patients seeking routine medical care from their primary care providers, patients who met inclusion criteria were randomized into an experimental group (n=371) or a control group (n=381). The primary outcome measures were the frequency of binge drinking episodes and weekly alcohol intake.
Results: There were no significant differences at baseline between groups in alcohol use and demographic variables. At the end of the 12-month follow-up period, there were significant reductions in binge-drinking status (52.2% vs 67.2%, P <.001), number of episodes of binge drinking (1.14 vs 1.56, P <.001), number of drinks weekly (19.2 vs 22.4, P <.001), and frequency of excessive alcohol intake in 7 days (47.9% vs 66.6%, P >.001).
Conclusions: This study provided evidence that screening and brief counseling delivered by a primary care physician as part of regular health care significantly reduced binge drinking episodes in binge drinkers.
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