Study Highlights Underuse of Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder in Acute Care Settings

New research has revealed a significant gap in prescribing of effective medications for alcohol use disorder (AUD). The study, reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, showed that just one in twenty patients with an alcohol-related diagnosis were prescribed an approved AUD drug (naltrexone, disulfiram, or acamprosate). The findings reinforce and build on previous evidence of under-prescribing, despite these treatments being proven to reduce heavy drinking and relapse. In the inpatient acute care setting, provision of AUD medication has been shown to be both feasible and associated with a reduction in re-admissions and emergency department (ED) visits. However, few prior studies had reported on prescribing habits in this setting. The current study examined prescribing in the acute inpatient care setting compared to other care settings within the University of Colorado Healthcare System.