To evaluate the effectiveness of different brief intervention strategies at reducing hazardous or harmful drinking in primary care.The hypothesis was that more intensive intervention would result in a greater reduction in hazardous or harmful drinking.
Pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial.Setting Primary care practices in the north east and south east of England and in London.Participants 3562 patients aged 18 or more routinely presenting in primary care, of whom 2991 (84.0%) were eligible to enter the trial: 900(30.1%) screened positive for hazardous or harmful drinking and 756(84.0%) received a brief intervention. The sample was predominantly male (62%) and white (92%), and 34% were current smokers.
Practices were randomised to three interventions, each of which built on the previous one: a patient information leaflet control group, five minutes of structured brief advice, and 20 minutes of brief lifestyle counselling. Delivery of the patient leaflet and brief advice occurred directly after screening and brief lifestyle counselling in a subsequent consultation.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was patients’ self reported hazardous or harmful drinking status as measured by the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) at six months. A negative AUDITresult (score