Aim: To characterize the profile of patients seeking baclofen treatment for alcohol dependence in France.
Method: We compared retrospectively baclofen seekers and baclofen non-seekers within a cohort of consecutive outpatients with alcohol dependence who attended a first appointment for alcohol treatment at two French addiction centres between September 2012 and March 2014. We documented socio-demographic characteristics; comorbid psychiatric, addiction, alcohol dependence features; patients' initial drinking goal, and referral status; and treatment retention at 6 and 12 months.
Results: Of the 289 patients identified, 107 were baclofen seekers and 182 were baclofen non-seekers. The only parameters significantly associated with baclofen seekers in multivariate analyses were a greater baseline alcohol consumption (β = 15.4, 95% CI: 0.18-30.65, P = 0.05), a controlled-drinking initial goal (OR = 14.9, 95% CI: 7.7-29, P < 0.0001) and self-referral (OR = 6.6, 95% CI: 3.7-12, P < 0.0001), baclofen seekers being eight times more likely to be self-referred and treatment-naïve (OR = 8.8, 95% CI: 4.1-18.9, P < 0.0001). Baclofen seekers were more likely to be retained in treatment at 6 months (OR = 3.5, 95% CI: 1.8-6.7, P < 0.0001) and 12 months (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.2, P = 0.019).
Conclusion: In France, the perspective of controlled drinking offered by baclofen treatment may have attracted more self-referred patients, including those without previous alcohol treatment, to attend treatment, than the usual treatment options. These findings raise the question as to whether future public health strategies on alcohol should more prominently promote some aspects of alcohol treatment, such as patient's preference and treatment options, in order to reduce the treatment gap in alcohol dependence.
© The Author 2016. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.