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CME: Updates in alcohol use disorder (AUD) pharmacotherapy and barriers to optimal care


Activity Description / Statement of Need:

In this online CME self-learning program:

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), referred to colloquially as alcoholism, is an integration of past terms that have include in past as alcohol dependence or abuse, and may be marked by any one of a number of different symptoms or behaviors that include physical cravings, compulsion, guilt, and frequent consumption over an extended period of time. A quarter of adults report at least one day of heavy drinking over the past year. Alcohol accounts for over 687,000 emergency department visits in the U.S. by people under age 20 per year; worldwide, 76.3 million people are estimated to have AUDs, and they account for an annual mortality rate of 1.8 million. AUD is largely under-recognized and undertreated, constituting one gap in care and justifying continuing HCP education. HCPs are considered well-positioned to be able to recognize AUD, and one of the first missed opportunities to do so is failing to employ a validated screening tool, which might identify a condition well before it reaches the full scale of its adverse psychosocial potential.

Target Audience:

HCPs who are: psychiatrists, primary care physicians, emergency medicine physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and those who otherwise commonly treat patients suffering from or have a clinical interest in AUD.

This program is supported by an educational grant from Alkermes.

Learners may participate in this activity free of charge.

Release Date: September 25, 2020 -- Expiration Date: September 25, 2022

Faculty: John Tsuang, MD


Faculty introduction, disclosures

Primer on AUD’s epidemiology, what is known in the neuropathophysiology, screening strategies, and psychosocial impact

  • Statistics
  • Nature vs. nurture in addictive disease
  • Psychosocial and socioeconomic factors
  • DSM-5 integration of DSM-IV criteria
  • The first step in treatment: Prevention – identifying the ‘issue’ before it becomes an issue; the value of the validated screening tools at our disposal
  • Patient case(s)

Treatment of AUD

  • Goals of therapy
  • Drugs use in managing patients with AUD
  • Non-adherence to therapy and strategies to overcome them in the real-world setting
  • Special populations and comorbid disorders
  • Patient case(s)

Summary, conclusions, and best practice recap

Learning Objectives

By the end of the session the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the common clinical presentation(s) of AUD.
  • Recall recommended AUD diagnostic criteria, and apply them to a patient case.
  • List current treatment options for AUD, including behavioral and pharmacologic therapies and apply them to patient cases using evidence-based medicine.
  • Describe challenges to the successful management of AUD relating to treatment adherence.


ACCME Activity #201861270

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through ScientiaCME. ScientiaCME is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation: ScientiaCME designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


ABIM MOC Recognition Statement: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 1.0 MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider's responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

PhysiciansFor maintenance of certification (MOC) credit, you must enter your board certification ID # and birth date correctly.  It is the learner's responsibility to provide this information completely and accurately at the completion of the activity. Without providing it, the learner will NOT receive MOC credit for this activity. Please note: Not all activities on this site provide MOC credit. If this activity does not specify that it provides MOC credit in this section, then it does NOT provide MOC credit.


ScientiaCME is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This activity is approved for 1.0 contact hours (0.1 CEUs) of continuing pharmacy education credit. Proof of participation will be posted to your NABP CPE profile within 4 to 6 weeks to participants who have successfully completed the post-test. Participants must participate in the entire presentation and complete the course evaluation to receive continuing pharmacy education credit. ACPE # 0574-0000-20-045-H01-P. ACPE credit effective 09/25/20 and expires 09/25/22. This is a Application (A)-type activity.

PharmacistsYou must enter your NABP # and birth date correctly so that proof of participation can be posted to your NABP CPE profile. It is the learner's responsibility to provide this information completely and accurately at the completion of the activity. Without providing it, the learner will NOT receive CPE credit for this activity.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs): The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME. ScientiaCME will provide NPs who successfully complete each activity with a certificate of participation indicating that the activity was designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Physician Assistants: The American Academy of Physician Assistants accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Faculty Disclosure and Resolution of COI

As a provider of continuing medical education, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all of its educational activities. In accordance with this policy, faculty and educational planners must disclose any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in faculty presentations, and any relationships with the commercial supporter of the activity. The intent of this disclosure is to provide the intended audience with information on which they can make their own judgments. Additionally, in the event a conflict of interest (COI) does exist, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure that the COI is resolved in order to ensure the integrity of the CME activity. For this CME activity, any COI has been resolved thru content review ScientiaCME.

Faculty Disclosure: John W. Tsuang, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California Los Angeles, has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.

Disclosures of Educational Planners: Charles Turck, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose. 

Disclosures of Peer Reviewers:
Steven L. Schandler, PhD, has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose. 
Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, MD, MSc, has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose. 

Commercial Support Disclosure: This program is supported by an educational grant from Alkermes.


  • Read the learning objectives above
  • Take the Pre-Test (optional). Completion of the pre-test will help us evaluate the knowedge gained by participating in this CME activity.
  • View the online activity. You may view this is in more than one session, and may pause or repeat any portion of the presentation if you need to.
  • Minimum participation threshold: Take the post-test. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass and proceed to the activity evaluation.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and CME registration. A CE certificate will be emailed to you immediately.

Cultural and Linguistic Competence

System Requirements

Windows 7 or above
Internet Explorer 8
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Mac OS 10.2.8
Safari or Chrome or Firefox
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Internet Explorer is not supported on the Macintosh

*Required to view Printable PDF Version

Perform Pre-Test (optional)

Please take a few minutes to participate in the optional pre-test. It will help us measure the knowledge gained by participating in this activity.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults: Updates from APA 2019