Economic evaluation of a behavioral intervention versus brief advice for substance use treatment in pregnant women: results from a randomized controlled trial

In BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Xiao Xu and colleagues, including Jennifer Ruger, assess the economic impact of motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (MET-CBT) among substance-using pregnant women. The study was performed alongside a clinical trial that compared the intervention to brief advice about the risks of substance use and found no significant differences in the outcomes such as drug and alcohol use. As such, the authors conducted a cost minimization analysis, from the perspective of the health system. They found that, while the intervention cost of MET-CBT was higher than the cost of brief advice, the total cost of care – including the prenatal period, delivery, and postpartum – were similar between the two groups. Further research incorporating non-medical costs, targeting women with more severe substance use disorders, and evaluating the impact of MET-CBT on participants’ quality of life will provide additional insights.