Background: Alcohol use disorder can lead to serious illness and early death. The lifetime prevalence rate among the Norwegian population is estimated at 7-10 %. Many patients are never admitted to any kind of treatment programme, and it is assumed that few of those who are treated receive medicinal treatment. There are a variety of drugs on the market that can help reduce alcohol consumption and maintain abstinence. We wanted to gain an insight into the prescription prevalence rate and practice for these drugs.
Material and method: We obtained encrypted data from the Norwegian Prescription Database of everyone who received drugs for alcohol use disorder in the period 2004-2016. The drugs included were disulfiram, acamprosate, naltrexone 50 mg and nalmefene.
Results: The annual prescription prevalence rate increased from 0.85 to 1.13 per 1000 during the observation period. Half of all patients only received prescribed drugs once, and Disulfiram was the most commonly prescribed drug. There was a slight increase in the prevalence rate in age groups up to and including 55 years, and a significant increase for the over-55s.
Conclusion: There was a slight increase in the prescription prevalence rate during the observation period. Disulfiram was the most commonly prescribed drug. The prescription increase was greatest among women and in the group of over-55s.