Canadian Medical Association

glasses with alcohol

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The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction recently updated its low-risk alcohol drinking guideline, significantly reducing the safe consumption of alcohol to two drinks per week, down from the previous ten drinks for women and fifteen drinks for men. Canadians are discussing these more stringent recommendations and looking at their own alcohol consumption patterns.

The Ask a Librarian team is committed to curating evidence-based resources on emerging health topics. Here are some librarian-selected resources from a variety of tools offered with CMA memberships or freely available online.

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Clinical summaries

ClinicalKey – Alcohol Use Disorder (login required – CMA members only – search “alcohol” and the clinical overview is the first result)

CPS – Alcohol-Related Disorders and Lifestyle Management and Disease Prevention (login required – CMA members only – search “alcohol” and see results 1 and 4)

DynaMed – Risks and Benefits of Alcohol Consumption (login required – CMA members only – search “alcohol consumption”)

Essential Evidence Plus – Fetal alcohol syndrome (login required – CMA members only – search “alcohol drinking”)

Family Practice Notebook – Alcohol

Merck Manual Professional Edition – Alcohol 

Guidelines and other information


Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction – Alcohol

Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines on alcohol – CPG Infobase

Health Canada – Alcohol use


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Alcohol Portal

Drink aware (UK) – UK low risk drinking guidelines: the Chief Medical Officers' advice

World Health Organization – Alcohol 

Book Chapters

ClinicalKey  (login required – CMA members only - includes 1,000+ textbooks, 600 full-text journals, images, videos and customizable patient handouts across 30+ medical specialties)

Open access:

Alcohol use disorder – StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf ( By Sara M. Nehring; Andrew M. Freeman. 2022 July 31. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 28613774

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf ( By Demetrios Vorgias; Bettina Bernstein. June 11, 2022. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 28846263

Evidence reviews

CADTH Health Technology Review - Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Programs for Substance Use Disorder: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

CADTH Reference List - Guidelines for Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal in Outpatient Settings

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health - Alcohol and Cancer Risk

Articles and article collections:

CMAJ – Alcohol misuse (collection)

Alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome: Clinical and epidemiological impact on liver disease.
Åberg F, Byrne CD, Pirola CJ, Männistö V, Sookoian S.J Hepatol. 2023 Jan;78(1):191-206. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.08.030. Epub 2022 Sep 5.PMID: 36063967 

Moderate Wine Consumption and Health: A Narrative Review. Hrelia S, Di Renzo L, Bavaresco L, Bernardi E, Malaguti M, Giacosa A. Nutrients. 2022 Dec 30;15(1):175. doi: 10.3390/nu15010175.
PMID: 36615832

Impact of Sizes of Servings, Glasses and Bottles on Alcohol Consumption: A Narrative Review. Mantzari E, Marteau TM. Nutrients. 2022 Oct 12;14(20):4244. doi: 10.3390/nu14204244. PMID: 36296928

Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Various Systems of the Human Body: A Systematic Review. Varghese J, Dakhode S. Cureus. 2022 Oct 8;14(10):e30057. doi: 10.7759/cureus.30057. eCollection 2022 Oct.
PMID: 36381944

Impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on neurodevelopmental outcomes: a systematic review.
Chu JTW, McCormack J, Marsh S, Wells A, Wilson H, Bullen C. Health Psychol Behav Med. 2022 Oct 6;10(1):973-1002. doi: 10.1080/21642850.2022.2129653. eCollection 2022. PMID: 36238426

The effectiveness of psychosocial interventions at reducing the frequency of alcohol and drug use in parents: findings of a Cochrane Review and meta-analyses.
McGovern R, Newham J, Addison M, Hickman M, Kaner E. Addiction. 2022 Oct;117(10):2571-2582. doi: 10.1111/add.15846. Epub 2022 Mar 3. PMID: 35188313

Alcohol and Cardiovascular Diseases-Do the Consumption Pattern and Dose Make the Difference?
Chudzińska M, Wołowiec Ł, Banach J, Rogowicz D, Grześk G. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2022 Sep 2;9(10):317. doi: 10.3390/jcdd9100317. PMID: 36286269

Alcohol Health Warning Labels: A Rapid Review with Action Recommendations. Giesbrecht N, Reisdorfer E, Rios I. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Sep 16;19(18):11676. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191811676.
PMID: 36141951

Alcohol and Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Meta-Analyses Base on Prospective Cohort Studies. Zhong L, Chen W, Wang T, Zeng Q, Lai L, Lai J, Lin J, Tang S. Front Public Health. 2022 May 4;10:859947. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.859947. eCollection 2022. PMID: 35602135

Are there non-linear relationships between alcohol consumption and long-term health?: a systematic review of observational studies employing approaches to improve causal inference. Visontay R, Sunderland M, Slade T, Wilson J, Mewton L. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2022 Jan 14;22(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s12874-021-01486-5. PMID: 35027007

Patient information

Canadian Cancer Society - Limit alcohol

Canadian Paediatric Society – Caring for Kids – Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Effects of drinking on your health

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – Alcohol – Alcohol Abuse

HealthLink BC – Alcohol use

MedlinePlus – Alcohol

UpToDate – Patient education: Risks and benefits of alcohol (Beyond the Basics)

Social media, news and other sources

CBC News – Just how risky is it to drink more alcohol than Canada's new guide advises? Jan 25, 2023

The Globe and Mail – One of the experts behind the Canada’s new alcohol drinking guidelines explains the changes. Jan 18, 2023

Twitter Search – #alcoholawareness

Searching for information on alcohol and health:

Google search (limit to Canadian websites/.ca domain) – search for alcohol and health

Google Scholar – search for alcohol and health

PubMed – US National Library of Medicine – Search for alcohol drinking and health effects

Need more information on alcohol consumption and health or any other clinical topic of interest? Contact the Ask a Librarian team to request a literature search.

This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The opinions stated by the authors are made in a personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries including Joule.

About the author(s)

CMA Joule’s medical librarians are the professionals behind “Ask a Librarian”, a service for all CMA members looking for clinical search expertise. This experienced team of librarians can support you by searching on your behalf, teaching you effective search strategies or training you to use our clinical resources.

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