Heavy Drinking Reduced by Brief Intervention Meetings with Physicians or Nurses

Brief discussions about alcohol with a physician or nurse can reduce a patient’s alcohol consumption by an average of about one-fifth, according to a Cochrane Review of the research evidence.

The investigators  identified 28 controlled trials involving 7,286 people from around the world, based on an extensive  search of the scientific research literature. People received  interventions lasing from five to 15 minutes with a doctor  or up to 30 minutes with a nurse.

A year after taking part in between one and four short sessions in a primary health care setting, men’s consumption per week had dropped  by an average of 18%. Most of the trials involved only one session and longer treatment regimens appeared to have little additional benefit.

Insufficient data prohibited adequate analysis of  women’ behavior after the brief interventions.


  • Kaner EFS, Beyer F, Dickinson HO, Pienaar E, Campbell F, Schlesinger C, Heather N, Saunders J, Burnand B. Effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions in primary care populations. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007 Issue 2,
     Art. No.: CD004148. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004148.pub3. (cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab004148.html)

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