The Long-Term Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Treatments

Improving decision-making to improve quality and drive value by developing a dynamic patient-level simulation model to account for the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based alcohol dependence treatment

Understanding the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatments is vital to maximizing health care quality and driving value. RTI led the first study to estimate the long-term cost-effectiveness of alcohol treatments, which included developing a dynamic patient-level simulation model. RTI applied this approach to the largest pharmacotherapy trial conducted for alcoholism in the United States, the Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions for Alcohol Dependence study. As a result, RTI developed a framework that linked drinking patterns and a range of alcohol consequences to address questions about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based alcohol dependence treatment approaches and to explore whether some approaches could lead to better quality of life and reduction in alcohol-related costs in the long-term. The study developed a model that incorporates drinking patterns and the long-term consequences of alcohol treatments, provided new estimates from the COMBINE trial, such as life expectancy, long-term drinking outcomes, quality-adjusted life years, and alcohol-related costs. Itprovided better estimates of the cost-effectiveness of alcohol treatments to help decision makers make better decisions about the allocation of alcohol dependence treatment resources.