The efficacy of cue exposure therapy on alcohol use disorders: A quantitative meta-analysis and systematic review

Ceyda Kiyak, Matilde E. Simonetti, Sam Norton, Paolo Deluca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Cue exposure therapy (CET) techniques involves repeated and controlled exposures to alcohol stimuli which rest upon the well-established principles of Pavlovian extinction (Byrne et al., 2019). However, the efficacy of CET while treating alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is still a matter of debate. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the efficacy of CET on AUDs by using previous meta-analysis study on the same topic from Mellentin et al. (2017) as a base.

Methods: A computer-assisted search of relevant articles identified 879 studies in Medline, PsycInfo and Embase, of which 11 studies (published between 1992 and 2019) were selected. Three outcome measures were extracted: alcohol consumption defined as drinks per day (drinking intensity) and alcohol reduction defined as drinking days and relapse (drinking frequency). This study is registered with PROSPERO (Registration no: #CRD42021259077).

Results: The present meta-analytical review found small to medium effect on drinks per day (g=-.35; 95%CI -.72 to .03), drinking days (g=-.30; 95%CI -.54 to -.06) and relapse (OR=-.58; 95%CI .29 to 1.15) while investigating the efficacy of CET on AUDs. GRADE assessment was used to evaluate the overall quality, and it was assessed as low. Regarding Risk of Bias, the studies in this systematic review were evaluated with “some concerns”.

Conclusion: The present meta-analysis demonstrated that CET has small to medium effect on drinks per day, drinking days and relapse. Future research should strive to conduct larger scale multi-site CET trials with additional methodological innovations and increase retention.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107578
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Early online date12 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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