A Health Technician-delivered Brief Intervention linked to AUDIT for reduction of alcohol use in Chilean primary care: a randomized controlled trial

Abstract Background Because of the shortage of health professionals in Chilean primary care, Health Technicians (HT) are providing Brief Interventions (BI) for risky alcohol consumption. We compared the efficacy of two AUDIT-linked interventions provided by HTs: an informative leaflet and a BI plus leaflet. Methods This is a parallel-group randomized controlled trial with 1:1 randomization. Participants were identified through screening with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) at five primary care centers between March 2016 and July 2017. People older than 18 years at intermediate-risk (AUDIT score 8 to 15, inclusive) were randomized to receive either an HT-delivered BI (n = 174) or an informative leaflet (n = 168). Only data from participants (n = 294) who completed the 6-month assessment were analyzed. The leaflet was delivered without further advice. It contains alcohol consumption limits, a change planner, and strategies to decrease drinking. The BI was a 5-min discussion on the leaflet´s content plus normative feedback, tailored information on alcohol and health, and a change plan. The change in the AUDIT risk category six months after randomization (primary outcome) was compared among groups with a Chi-squared test. Changes in the secondary outcomes, which were scores on the AUDIT and the AUDIT´s consumption items (AUDIT-C), were compared with T-tests. Mixed-effects linear models adjusted for potential confounders. Outcome adjudicators were blinded to group assignment. Results At 6-month follow-up, low-risk alcohol consumption was observed in 119 (80%) participants in the BI group, and in 103 (71%) in the leaflet group, with no difference among groups ( $$\chi 2$$ χ 2 [1, N = 294] = 2.6, p = 0.1; adjusted odds ratio 0.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.34, 1.05). The mean AUDIT score decreased by 5.76 points in the BI group, and by 5.07 in the leaflet group, which represents a 0.86 AUDIT point reduction attributable to the BI (secondary outcome) (T = 2.03, p = 0.043; adjusted mean difference 0.86 CI 0.06, 1.66). Conclusions The AUDIT-linked BI delivered by HTs was not associated with a greater reduction of risky alcohol consumption than an informative leaflet. Delivering a leaflet could be more efficient than a BI when provided by HTs; however, more research on the effectiveness of the leaflet is needed. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02642757 (December 30, 2015) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02642757 .
Alcohol brief intervention, Chile, Primary care, Health technician
Addiction Science & Clinical Practice. 2021 Jun 15;16(1):39