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Ria Health Awarded $2 Million Grant by National Institute of Health (NIH) for Clinical Trial

Ria Health, a leading telehealth provider specializing in Alcohol Use Disorder treatment (AUD), today announced it has received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a clinical trial assessing its medically assisted treatment program’s effectiveness – The Ria Health Program – in decreasing problem drinking and resulting markers related to liver disease. News of the trial, conducted in partnership with Stanford University, was announced at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’s The Liver Meeting, the leading national conference for hepatology.

The first phase of the study will be funded immediately with $367,000 to identify and screen trial candidates, which are subject to milestone and regulatory approvals. The additional $1.63 million will fund upon successful completion of phase one and commencement of phase two, when subject enrollment begins.

“At Stanford, we are pleased to collaborate on this grant from NIH,” said  Judith Prochaska, PhD, MPH, Professor of Medicine with the Stanford Prevention Research Center. “It will support a randomized controlled trial evaluation of Ria Health’s telehealth intervention to increase screening and treatment for alcohol use disorder.”

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U.S. life expectancy has consistently dropped over the last decade, and alcohol use has been one of the top contributors. In 2020, 28.3 million people suffered from AUD in the U.S. alone; for people over the age of 26, prevalence of AUD doubled from 2017 from 10,618,000 to 22,400,000. Meanwhile, the treatment rates for AUD have been declining since 2017, and in 2020 only 7 percent of people with AUD received treatment. Less than 1 percent received treatment that included medication assisted treatment, even with decades of peer-reviewed evidence of its effectiveness.

“This grant is a step towards preventative evidence based interventions that can help reduce the alarming increases rates of cirrhosis that are disproportionately affecting people under the age of 45 and women who are misusing alcohol,” said Tom Nix, CEO of Ria Health. “Early detection of liver abnormalities and treatments for alcohol misuse are proven to reduce acute liver disease which require life altering treatments and cause high mortality rates.”

The Ria Health Program focuses on reducing alcohol consumption by combining medical treatment with structured counseling and cutting-edge technology. The program offers several FDA-approved medications for AUD that, when combined with coaching, are proven highly effective at reducing cravings and  instances of harmful drinking. Program participants are also provided bluetooth devices to track and monitor their blood alcohol levels. Perhaps most significantly, the program does not rely on total abstinence from alcohol for patients to see success; the focus remains on reducing episodes of harmful drinking via medication-assisted treatment to greatly improve overall liver function, blood pressure, and destructive behavior.

Healthcare providers, in turn, have been stepping up their efforts to find effective means of educating physicians and treating patients. Alcohol use is suspected to cost the U.S. healthcare system $28 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Identifying markers related to liver disease can prevent deaths when caught and treated early.

Since the beginning of 2020, Ria Health has seen a 500 percent increase in patient enrollment and a 10x increase in alcohol treatment-seeking adults. Due to the behavioral health impacts of COVID-19, studies found that national alcohol sales have skyrocketed since 2020.

For more information, visit:

https://reporter.nih.gov/search/0rkfTR_5QUiK4A2JP9NSFA/project-details/10604054 and riahealth.com. 

About Ria Health

Over their lifetime, 1 in 10 adults will struggle with alcohol use disorder, the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States. At Ria Health, we envision a world with accessible, effective, and compassionate treatment for people who suffer from alcohol misuse. Ria Health is the first evidence-based telehealth treatment program for people who want to drink less and live better by changing their relationship with alcohol. We combine medical science, technology, and human compassion to help people rapidly improve their lives with a simple, online alcohol treatment program that works. For more information, visit www.riahealth.com.

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.

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