Telemedicine-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia in alcohol use disorder (AUD): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2022 Jan 20;23(1):59. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05898-y.


Background: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, but relapse rates are high even with available treatments. Insomnia is a robust predictor of relapse and pilot studies have shown that CBT for insomnia improves insomnia and daytime functioning in adults with AUD and insomnia. The impact of CBT for insomnia on relapse, however, is unclear. This trial will compare telemedicine-delivered CBT for insomnia (CBT-TM) with sleep hygiene education (SHE-TM) on improving insomnia/sleep, daytime symptom, and drinking outcomes in treatment-seeking AUD adults with insomnia. The study will also determine the effects of treatment on sleep mechanisms and their association with clinical outcomes.

Methods: This is a single-site randomized controlled trial with planned enrollment of 150 adults meeting criteria for both AUD and chronic insomnia. Eligible participants will be randomized 1:1 to 6 sessions of telemedicine-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-TM) or Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE-TM) with clinical assessments conducted at pre-treatment, post- treatment, and at 3, 6, and 12 months post-treatment. Overnight polysomnography will be conducted before and after treatment. Primary clinical outcomes will include post-treatment scores on the Insomnia Severity Index and the General Fatigue subscale of the Multidisciplinary Fatigue Inventory, and the percent of days abstinent (PDA) on the interview-administered Time Line Follow Back. EEG delta activity, derived from overnight polysomnography, will be the primary endpoint to assess the sleep homeostasis mechanism.

Discussion: This adequately powered randomized controlled trial will provide clinically relevant information about whether targeting insomnia is effective for improving treatment outcomes among treatment-seeking adults with AUD. Additionally, the study will offer new scientific insights on the impact of an evidence-based non-medication treatment for insomnia on a candidate mechanism of sleep dysfunction in this population - sleep homeostasis.

Trial registration: NCT # 04457674 . Registered on 07 July 2020.

Keywords: Alcohol use disorder, Insomnia, Non-medication treatment, Relapse.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism* / complications
  • Alcoholism* / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism* / therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / therapy
  • Telemedicine*