To characterize a contemporaneous cohort of UK general practice patients with alcohol use disorder and describe their management.Methods
Prospective observational study in 25 primary care practices in England and Scotland. Adult patients with known or suspected alcohol dependence (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score ≥8) were followed for 6 months and were profiled using baseline data. Changes over time in treatment for alcohol dependence (strategy, goals, modality) and the level of compliance were examined.Results
Targeted case identification was a feasible means of identifying patients with DSM-IV confirmed alcohol dependence in general practice. In the cohort (n = 218), mean total alcohol consumption was high (men: 86.9 g/day; women: 62.7 g/day) and psychiatric co-morbidities were common (depression: 25.8% of patients; anxiety disorders: 25.8% of patients). At baseline, about half of patients reported ongoing or planned treatment for alcohol dependence. Over 6 months' observation, treatment modalities did not change and most patients retained their original stated treatment goal of abstinence or reduced alcohol intake.Conclusions
Targeted case identification in general practice identifies patients with alcohol use disorder in need of treatment.