How is alcohol withdrawal treated?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Treatment of alcohol withdrawal is best accomplished with benzodiazepines. Avoid fixed-dose therapy, and treat patients for symptoms. This results in use of lower doses of benzodiazepines, less patient sedation, and earlier patient discharge. Lorazepam and oxazepam are preferred for patients with significant liver disease because the half-lives of other benzodiazepines can be significantly prolonged. These shorter-acting benzodiazepines require more frequent patient monitoring. Use longer-acting drugs (eg, chlordiazepoxide) when monitoring is not reliable.


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