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Gender Gap Seen in Accessing Alcohol Treatment With Cirrhosis

MONDAY, Jan. 28, 2019 -- Women with alcohol-associated cirrhosis (AC) are less likely to receive alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment than men with the disease even though such treatment is associated with improved outcomes at one year, according to a study published online Jan. 22 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Jessica L. Mellinger, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the Truven MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database (2009 to 2016) to identify 66,053 adults (aged 18 to 64 years) with AC. The authors evaluated rates and predictors of substance abuse treatment visits and rates of alcohol relapse prevention medication prescriptions.

The researchers found that rates of AUD treatment utilization were low, with only 10 percent of individuals receiving a face-to-face mental health or substance abuse visit and only 0.8 percent receiving a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved relapse prevention medication within one year of index diagnosis. Compared with men, women were less likely to receive either a face-to-face visit (hazard ratio [HR], 0.84; P < 0.001) or an FDA-approved relapse prevention medication (HR, 0.89; P = 0.05). At one year, risk for decompensation was decreased among AC patients who had a clinic visit for AUD treatment or used FDA-approved relapse medication (HR, 0.85; P < 0.001 for either).

"Efforts to reduce gender-specific barriers to treatment are urgently needed to improve outcomes," the authors write.

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Posted: January 2019

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