Electronic programs designed to curb drinking do not reduce alcohol use in the long term, a new study finds. These programs may produce small reductions in alcohol consumption in the first six months, but there is little evidence for longer-term, clinically significant effects, the researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study looked at programs delivered by CD-ROM, desktop computers in clinics, online delivery, mobile applications, or interactive voice response on the phone or computer.
“At this point, the effects of the available brief electronic interventions are small, and evidence that they help people to drink within recommended limits is lacking,” said lead researcher Eric Dedert of Duke University School of Medicine. “However, electronic interventions for alcohol misuse hold significant promise, and there is a need to develop more intensive interventions.”