Alcohol withdrawal-related outcomes associated with gabapentin use in an inpatient psychiatric facility.

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Alcohol withdrawal-related outcomes associated with gabapentin use in an inpatient psychiatric facility.

Ment Health Clin. 2019 Jan;9(1):1-5

Authors: Nichols TA, Robert S, Taber DJ, Cluver J

Introduction: Limited evidence exists evaluating the impact of gabapentin in conjunction with benzodiazepines for the management of alcohol withdrawal. A review of outcomes associated with combination gabapentin and benzodiazepine therapy may illuminate new therapeutic uses in clinical practice.
Methods: This retrospective study evaluated the impact of gabapentin on as-needed use of benzodiazepines in inpatients being treated for acute alcohol withdrawal. The treatment cohort consisted of patients prescribed gabapentin while on a symptom-triggered alcohol withdrawal protocol. The control cohort consisted of patients on symptom-triggered alcohol withdrawal protocol without concurrent gabapentin use. Secondary objectives included length of hospital stay, duration on alcohol withdrawal protocol, frequency of complicated withdrawal, and use of additionally prescribed as-needed or scheduled benzodiazepines.
Results: The gabapentin cohort was on the alcohol withdrawal protocol for a similar duration, compared with the control cohort (median of 4 [interquartile range: 2,6] days vs 3 [2,4] days, P = .09, respectively). Similarly, the gabapentin cohort required a median of 1 [1,2] benzodiazepine dose for alcohol withdrawal symptoms compared with a median of 1 [1,2] dose in the control cohort, P = .89. No significant difference was found between cohorts for as-needed and scheduled benzodiazepine use. Length of stay in hospital was similar between groups.
Discussion: These results suggest that gabapentin use, in conjunction with benzodiazepines, impacts neither the time on alcohol withdrawal protocol or the number of benzodiazepine doses required for withdrawal. Larger, prospective studies are needed to detect if gabapentin alters benzodiazepine usage and to better elucidate gabapentin's role in acute alcohol withdrawal.

PMID: 30627496 [PubMed]

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