What are the limitations of sympatholytic drug for the treatment of delirium tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

The administration of a sympatholytic drug (ie, clonidine, beta-blocker), either alone or with inadequate doses of benzodiazepines, can potentially cause problems, because the use of these drugs provides a false sense of security by correcting some of the autonomic manifestations of withdrawal in a patient who may be progressing to DTs. Sympatholytic drugs should not be administered unless adequate doses of benzodiazepines also are administered.


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