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Brief counselling by a primary care physician or nurse practitioner reduced alcohol consumption in high risk drinkers

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QUESTION: Is brief counselling given by a physician or nurse practitioner during a routine outpatient visit effective in reducing alcohol consumption among high risk drinkers?


Randomised (unclear allocation concealment), blinded (outcome assessors), controlled trial with 6 months of follow up.


4 primary care internal medicine sites at a university medical centre in Massachusetts, USA.


530 patients between 21 and 70 years of age (mean age 44 y, 65% men) who were scheduled to be seen at 1 of the 4 primary care sites and who were high risk drinkers (men who drank >12 drinks/wk or binged on ≥5 drinks on ≥1 occasion in the previous month; or women who drank >9 drinks/wk or binged on ≥4 drinks on ≥1 occasion in the previous month). Patients were excluded if …

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  • Source of funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  • For correspondence: Dr J K Ockene, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Ave N, Worcester, MA 01655. Fax +1 508 856 1570.