OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the costs and cost-effectiveness of two treatments for 101 alcohol use disorder patients and their intimate partners--group behavioral couples' therapy plus individual-based treatment (G-BCT), or standard behavioral couples' therapy plus individual-based treatment (S-BCT).
METHOD: We estimated the per-patient cost of each intervention using a microcosting approach that allowed us to estimate costs of specific components in each intervention as well as the overall total costs. Using simple means analysis and multiple regression models, we estimated the incremental effectiveness of G-BCT relative to S-BCT. Immediately after treatment and 12 months after treatment, we computed incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves for percentage days abstinent, adverse consequences of alcohol and drugs, and overall relationship functioning.
RESULTS: The average per-patient cost of delivering G-BCT was $674, significantly less than the cost of S-BCT ($831). However, 12 months after treatment, S-BCT participants performed better on all outcomes compared with those in G-BCT, and the calculated ICER moving from G-BCT to S-BCT ranged from $10 to $12 across these outcomes. The current findings indicated that, except at very low willingness-to-pay values, S-BCT is a cost-effective option relative to G-BCT when considering 12-month posttreatment outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: As expected, G-BCT was delivered at a lower cost per patient than S-BCT; however, S-BCT performed better over time on the clinical outcomes studied. These economic findings indicate that alcohol use disorder treatment providers should seriously consider S-BCT over G-BCT when deciding what format to use in behavioral couples' therapy.