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Brief Interventions in Primary Care: an Evidence Overview of Practitioner and Digital Intervention Programmes

Lookup NU author(s): Fiona Beyer, Dr Ellen Lynch, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Excessive drinking is a major public health problem that adversely affects all parts of the population. Previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses have reported that brief interventions delivered in primary care are effective at reducing alcohol consumption, albeit with small effect sizes that have decreased over time. This review summarises the updated evidence base on practitioner and digitally delivered brief interventions.Using Cochrane methodology, 69 primary care brief intervention trials (33,642 participants) and 57 digital intervention trials (34,390 participants) were identified. Meta-analyses showed both approaches significantly reduced consumption compared to controls. Five trials (390 participants) compared practitioner-delivered and digital interventions directly with no evidence of difference in outcomes at follow-up. Brief interventions have the potential to impact at both individual and population levels. Future research should focus on optimising components and delivery mechanisms, and on alcohol-related harms. Digital interventions may overcome some of the implementation barriers faced by practitioner-delivered interventions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Beyer F, Lynch E, Kaner E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Addiction Reports

Year: 2018

Volume: 5

Issue: 2

Pages: 265–273

Print publication date: 01/06/2018

Online publication date: 03/05/2018

Acceptance date: 03/05/2018

Date deposited: 05/06/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2196-2952

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


DOI: 10.1007/s40429-018-0198-7


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