Background: The CHOICE care management intervention did not improve drinking relative to usual care (UC) for patients with frequent heavy drinking at high risk of alcohol use disorders. Patients with alcohol dependence were hypothesized to benefit most. We conducted preplanned secondary analyses to test whether the CHOICE intervention improved drinking relative to UC among patients with and without baseline DSM-IV alcohol dependence.
Methods: A total of 304 patients reporting frequent heavy drinking from 3 VA primary care clinics were randomized (stratified by DSM-IV alcohol dependence, sex, and site) to UC or the patient-centered, nurse-delivered, 12-month CHOICE care management intervention. Primary outcomes included percent heavy drinking days (%HDD) using 28-day timeline follow-back and a "good drinking outcome" (GDO)-abstaining or drinking below recommended limits and no alcohol-related symptoms on the Short Inventory of Problems at 12 months. Generalized estimating equation binomial regression models (clustered on provider) with interaction terms between dependence and intervention group were fit.
Results: At baseline, 59% of intervention and UC patients had DSM-IV alcohol dependence. Mean drinking outcomes improved for all subgroups. For participants with dependence, 12-month outcomes did not differ for intervention versus UC patients (%HDD 37% versus 38%, p = 0.76 and GDO 16% versus 16%, p = 0.77). For participants without dependence, %HDD did not differ between intervention (41%) and UC (31%) patients (p = 0.12), but the proportion with GDO was significantly higher among UC participants (26% versus 13%, p = 0.046). Neither outcome was significantly modified by dependence (interaction p values 0.19 for %HDD and 0.10 for GDO).
Conclusions: Among participants with frequent heavy drinking, care management had no benefit relative to UC for patients with dependence, but UC may have had benefits for those without dependence.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01400581.
Keywords: Veterans; alcohol dependence; alcohol screening; alcohol use disorder; care management; collaborative care; intervention; medical management; patient-centered care; primary care.