March 1974

Drug Maintenance in the Outpatient Treatment of Chronic Alcoholism

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Boston City Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(3):373-377. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760090079013

This study involves 123 alcoholic outpatients who, during their first visit, were invited to attend counseling sessions twice weekly. In addition, they were assigned to one of four groups to receive, under supervision, disulfiram, chlordiazepoxide, a multivitamin preparation (Berocca), or no medication. Those patients ingesting drugs at the clinic were also given a small quantity to take at home between clinic visits.

During the first 20-week follow-up period, the chlordiazepoxide group had the highest rate of retention followed by the disulfiram, vitamin, and the no-medication groups. After that period, differences between the groups were lost. Patients who were referred for treatment by the courts following a conviction for drunken driving attended substantially longer than the voluntary patients irrespective of the treatment condition to which they were assigned.