Economic Evaluation of Internet-Based Interventions for Harmful Alcohol Use Alongside a Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial

M. Blankers, U. Nabitz, H.F.E. Smit, M.W.J. Koeter, G.M. Schippers

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Internet interventions with and without therapist support have been found to be effective treatment options for harmful alcohol users. Internet-based therapy (IT) leads to larger and longer-lasting positive effects than Internet-based self-help (IS), but it is also more costly to provide. Objective: To evaluate the cost effectiveness and cost utility of Internet-based interventions for harmful use of alcohol through the assessment of the incremental cost effectiveness of IT compared with IS. Methods: This study was performed in a substance abuse treatment center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We collected data over the years 2008-2009. A total of 136 participants were included, 70 (51%) were female, and mean age was 41.5 (SD 9.83) years. Reported alcohol consumption and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores indicated harmful drinking behavior at baseline. We collected self-reported outcome data prospectively at baseline and 6 months after randomization. Cost data were extracted from the treatment center's cost records, and sex-and age-specific mean productivity cost data for the Netherlands. Results: The median incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was estimated at (sic)3683 per additional treatment responder and (sic)14,710 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. At a willingness to pay (sci)20,000 for 1 additional QALY, IT had a 60% likelihood of being more cost effective than IS. Sensitivity analyses attested to the robustness of the findings. Conclusions: IT offers better value for money than IS and might therefore be considered as a treatment option, either as first-line treatment in a matched-care approach or as a second-line treatment in the context of a stepped-care approach
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere134
Pages (from-to)e134
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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