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Study Shows Association Between Discharge Medication Initiation and Improved Outcomes for Alcohol-related Hospitalizations

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open suggests that initiating U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for alcohol use disorder (MAUD) upon discharge for patients with alcohol-related hospitalizations may lead to a reduction in the incidence of all-cause mortality or return to hospital within 30 days.

Conducted by Dr. Eden Y. Bernstein and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the study analyzed data from a cohort of Medicare Part D beneficiaries who experienced alcohol-related hospitalizations in 2016. The cohort consisted of 6,794 unique individuals, representing 9,834 hospitalizations, with 2.0 percent involving discharge MAUD initiation.

After propensity matching, the researchers observed a significant decrease in the incidence of the primary outcome, which included all-cause mortality or return to hospital within 30 days of discharge, among patients with discharge MAUD initiation (incident rate ratio, 0.58). The findings remained consistent for secondary outcomes, such as all-cause return to hospital (incident rate ratio, 0.56), although mortality was rare in both groups.

The authors concluded that initiating MAUD at discharge was associated with a notable reduction in return to hospital within 30 days for Medicare Part D beneficiaries with alcohol-related hospitalizations. These findings underscore the importance of increasing access to MAUD in the posthospitalization setting to improve outcomes for individuals with alcohol use disorder.

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