Background and Aims: Alcohol use disorders (AUD) are among the most prevalent mental disorders
around the world, yet still remain the most undertreated. Many studies report the low rate of treatment uptake,
less than 20%, among people with AUD. Among those accessing care, a large majority only approach
their GP for help. Therefore, primary care is a strategic setting for the identification and the management of
AUD. International recommendations stress AUD pharmacotherapy for withdrawal and craving management,
but very few studies have shown interest in the management of AUDs in primary care. The main objective of
this study was to analyse pharmacotherapy in AUD management in primary care by means of a systematic literature
Methods: A systematic literature review (PRISMA) was carried out. 5 databases were screened: PUBMED via
MEDLINE, LiSSa, the SUDOC catalogue, PASCAL and EMBASE. Search algorithms were used integrating
the concepts of pharmacotherapy management, alcohol use disorders and primary care, only in the English language.
Results: 296 studies were selected and 10 were included. One was a follow-up study on the national prescription
database, while four were cross-sectional studies with an auto-questionnaire survey. Of the 10 studies included,
two were conducted in Europe, five in North America, two in Australia and one in South Africa. These
pharmacotherapy studies were concerned with the anti-craving treatment, and 3 types of medications were
used: Disulfiram, Acamprosate and Naltrexone. Factors identified as limiting or facilitating prescriptions concerned
cost, indications, efficacy, training and adjuncts to pharmacotherapy.
Conclusion: Knowledge and prescription of pharmacotherapy for AUD, more specifically, anti-craving treatment,
is insufficient in primary care. There is a lack of data and studies on the efficacy of anti-craving treatment
in primary care. Guidelines for AUD management, including psychological and medical management and pharmacotherapy,
do exist but have not been adapted to primary care practice. Barriers and facilitators of pharmacotherapy
prescription in AUD in primary care were identified in this study.