Aims: This study investigated the relationship between alcohol drinking habits and the onset of high medical expenditure in a Japanese male population. Methods: The cohort comprised 94,307 male beneficiaries 40-69 years of age of the Japanese medical insurance system, who had daily alcohol drinking habits. The likelihood of incurring high medical expenditure, defined as the ≥90th percentile of the medical expenditure distribution in the study population 1 year after baseline, as well as the likelihood of undergoing hospitalization that year were compared among the participants grouped according to their alcohol consumption amount (<2, 2-3.9, 4-5.9, ≥6 drinks/day). Results: Participants who ranked in the top 10% medical expenditure group within the 1 year after baseline each incurred at least 2152 euros/year. The top 10% medical expenditure group accounted for 61.1% of the total medical expenditure in the study population. The odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for ranking in the top 10% group during the 1-year period, compared with the <2 drinks (23 g of alcohol)/day group, were 1.08 (1.02-1.15) for 2-3.9 drinks/day, 1.11 (1.05-1.19) for 4-5.9 drinks/day, and 1.31 (1.18-1.45) for ≥6 drinks/day after adjustment for age, body mass index, and smoking and exercise habits. The adjusted odds ratios for undergoing hospitalization were 1.11 (1.04-1.19), 1.14 (1.06-1.24) and 1.39 (1.24-1.56), respectively. Conclusion: The likelihood of incurring high medical expenditure and undergoing hospitalization increased with daily alcohol consumption amount.
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