Evaluation of the Brief Alcohol Withdrawal Scale Protocol at an Academic Medical Center.

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Evaluation of the Brief Alcohol Withdrawal Scale Protocol at an Academic Medical Center.

J Addict Med. 2019 Feb 06;:

Authors: Lindner BK, Gilmore VT, Kruer RM, Alvanzo AA, Chen ES, Murray P, Niessen T, Perrin K, Rastegar DA, Young S, Jarrell AS

OBJECTIVES: The standard of care for treatment of alcohol withdrawal is symptom-triggered dosing of benzodiazepines using a withdrawal scale. Abbreviated scales are desired for clinician efficiency. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of the 5-item Brief Alcohol Withdrawal Scale (BAWS) protocol.
METHODS: This single-center, retrospective, observational, cohort study assessed patients ordered the BAWS protocol between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017. Data were collected on benzodiazepine exposure, duration of treatment, withdrawal severity, agitation, over-sedation, and delirium while being treated for alcohol withdrawal. Comparisons were made to analyze predetermined patient subgroups.
RESULTS: Seven hundred ninety-nine patients were initiated on the BAWS protocol. Patients received a median (IQR) of 0 (0-4) lorazepam equivalents (LEs) and were on the BAWS protocol for a median (IQR) of 44.9 (22.4-77.2) hours. Of the patients that received benzodiazepines while on the BAWS protocol, a median (IQR) of 4 (2-11) LEs were given. Seventeen (2.1%) patients had severe withdrawal. Days of agitation, over-sedation, and delirium were minimal, with the median (IQR) of 0 (0-0). Few patients received adjunctive medications for symptom management. Intensive care unit (ICU) patients had more severe withdrawal than non-ICU patients, but received the same cumulative benzodiazepine dose.
CONCLUSIONS: Most patients on the BAWS protocol received little-to-no benzodiazepines; severe withdrawal, agitation, delirium, or over-sedation were uncommon. This is the first evaluation of the BAWS protocol on a diverse population of hospitalized patients.

PMID: 30741834 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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