Haralampos J. Milionis, MD; Moses S. Elisaf, MD, FRSH
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Milionis H., Elisaf M.; Patients with Alcohol Problems. Ann Intern Med. 2001;135:841. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-135-9-200111060-00019
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;135(9):841.
TO THE EDITOR:
Fiellin and colleagues (1) vividly described the outpatient management of patients presenting with alcohol problems. The patient's history seems to be the most valuable source of information on alcohol use. In widely accepted screening instruments (such as the CAGE questionnaire, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT], and the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test [MAST]), self-reported information on alcohol use is reliable and reproducible (1). Furthermore, laboratory tests, including tests of liver enzymes, mean corpuscular volume, or carbohydrate-deficient transferrin levels, may provide clues to the presence of unsuspected alcohol problems (1, 2). However, these tests are not sufficiently sensitive or specific for use in screening patients and are mostly limited to the evaluation of alcohol-related complications (1, 2).
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