Quit Genius Reports Promising Data in Pilot Study of Integrated Digital Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Treatment

Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – December 12, 2022 – Quit Genius, the world’s first digital clinic for treating multiple substance addictions, today announced results from a pilot study of integrated alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment. The study, one of the most promising of its kind to date, shows the potential for combined behavioral health and medication management delivered via telehealth to dramatically improve outcomes and boost access to quality substance use care. A fully powered randomized controlled trial (RCT) building on the initial success of the pilot investigation is now underway.

“The results of this pilot study are certainly promising, with significant decreases in alcohol consumption reported among participants,” said Suzette Glasner, Ph.D., Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Quit Genius. “But just as promising were the associated decreases in mental health symptoms, including depression and anxiety. My colleagues and I are very excited to roll out the large and fully powered RCT so we can learn more about the most effective ways to treat AUD and help address the alarming rise in alcohol use and related health complications.”

Participants reduced their past 30-day drinks per drinking day from 6.7 to 2.7

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption in the U.S. has increased by 25%, which, if sustained for even one year, is estimated to cause over 18,000 new cases of liver failure and 8,000 additional deaths from liver disease. Unfortunately, many suffering won’t seek help; studies indicate that only 1 in 10 people with a substance use disorder gets treatment. In the U.S. labor force, AUD is linked to 232 million missed workdays annually, and those with severe AUD miss more than double the number of workdays missed by individuals without the disorder.

The pilot study, published in Telemedicine Reports, examined the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of an m-health intervention, combining cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy plus naltrexone for individuals with AUD. Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain to help reduce dependence on alcohol and opioids. The authors found that integrated digital health treatment of AUD combining evidence-based psychosocial and pharmacological treatment is feasible and may produce improvements in both alcohol use and psychiatric symptoms.

“We’re continuing to build a strong base of evidence as we improve and expand our AUD program,” said Dr. Glasner. “What we see with the pilot study is the promise of evidence-based AUD care to improve access and reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders when treatment can be delivered via telehealth.”

The Quit Genius alcohol program takes an evidence-based approach that combines technology, medication, and qualified professionals to address the high cost of AUD in the workplace, including absenteeism, health complications, injuries, and other losses in productivity. Within the first 30 days of care, Quit Genius program members see a 62% reduction in alcohol use frequency, and 80% of enrolled participants reduce alcohol use frequency by 30% or more. A large employer using the Quit Genius AUD solution experienced major reductions in alcohol use and associated risk factors as well as improvements in anxiety, depression and sleep.

Quit Genius recently added alcohol and opioid addiction treatment to its partnership with Evernorth, and earlier this year partnered with Evry Health to make its tobacco, alcohol and opioid addiction solutions available to Evry’s Dallas-based members.

About the pilot study

Adults with AUD (N = 26) recruited through online, social media-based advertising were enrolled in a 12-week, integrated telemedicine intervention combining psychosocial treatment with medical management. Feasibility, acceptability, perceived helpfulness, treatment engagement, retention, completion, and clinical outcomes including alcohol use and secondary mental health outcomes were assessed. Primary outcomes were the proportion of days abstinent and drinks per drinking day. The proportion of days abstinent in the past 30 increased from 13.8% to 59%, and more than two-thirds (68%) of study subjects reduced their alcohol use by one or more WHO risk drinking levels. Depressive symptoms were reduced from moderately severe at baseline to the mild range, and anxiety severity declined from moderate to the mild range.

Proportion of days abstinent in the past 30 days increased from 13.8% to 59%

About Pelago

Pelago partners with enterprises as the leading virtual clinic for substance use management among their employees. We are transforming substance use support – from prevention to treatment – delivering education, management skills, and opportunities for positive change to members struggling with substance use, most commonly tobacco, alcohol, opioids or cannabis. Our solution gives employers the means to offer on-demand, personalized support to workers seeking to live healthier lives. Pelago’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs deliver convenient, accessible and effective support that seamlessly integrates with health plans, pharmacy benefit managers and wellness platforms. Tens of thousands of members enroll in the Pelago program each year, and more than 3.4 million now have access to the digital clinic.

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