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Original Research

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment in Sexually and Gender Diverse Patients: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Michal J. McDowell, MD, MPH; Dana S. King, ALM; Sy Gitin, BS; Amitai S. Miller, BA; Abigail W. Batchelder, PhD, MP; Alisa B. Busch, MD, MS; Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH; Haiden A. Huskamp, PhD; and Alex S. Keuroghlian, MD, MPH

Published: August 28, 2023


Objective: While sexually and gender diverse (SGD) people have higher odds of alcohol use disorder (AUD) compared to heterosexual and cisgender people, AUD treatment access and use disparities are not well characterized. The purpose of this study is to assess differences in AUD treatment among SGD versus non-SGD populations.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed using data from a federally qualified health center electronic health record system in Boston, Massachusetts. Patients were 18 years or older with an International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 or ICD-10 AUD diagnosis and any clinic visit from January 2013 until June 2021 (N = 3,607). Treatment for AUD was identified using binary variables for medication prescription orders and visits for AUD.

Results: Among patients identifying as lesbian/gay, 6.9% had an AUD diagnosis, as compared to 2.6% of patients identifying as straight/heterosexual (P < .001). The prevalence of AUD was higher in the gender diverse group as compared to the cisgender group (5.5% vs 4.4%, P < .001). There were no significant differences in receipt of a prescription for injectable naltrexone, acamprosate, or disulfiram between SGD and non-SGD patients. For oral naltrexone, 16.1% of sexually diverse patients received a prescription, as compared to 9.8% of straight/heterosexual patients (P < .001). For visits, both the straight/heterosexual cohort and the cisgender cohorts had the lowest proportion of AUD-related pharmacotherapy and individual psychotherapy visits, as compared to SGD cohorts.

Conclusions: SGD patients had higher proportions of AUD diagnosis and AUD care utilization through behavioral health as compared to non-SGD patients.

J Clin Psychiatry 2023;84(5):23m14812

Author affiliations are listed at the end of this article.

Volume: 84

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