Single dose phenobarbital in addition to symptom-triggered lorazepam in alcohol withdrawal.
Am J Emerg Med. 2019 Jan 30;:
Authors: Ibarra F
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single parenteral dose of phenobarbital in addition to symptom-triggered lorazepam for the acute management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS).
METHODS: This was a retrospective chart review of adult patients who presented to the Emergency Department with moderate or severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Patients were included if they received at least 4 mg of lorazepam through the hospital's Alcohol Withdrawal Order Set on hospital day one. Patients who received a single parenteral dose of phenobarbital on hospital day one were compared to those who did not.
RESULTS: Forty patients received phenobarbital and 38 patients received lorazepam only. Median daily lorazepam requirements, disposition, hospital length of stay, and median maximum daily CIWA-Ar scores were not statistically significant different between the groups. Significantly more patients in the phenobarbital group were discharged within three days in comparison to the lorazepam only group (9 patients vs. 2 patients, respectively, p < 0.05). In the lorazepam only group, two patients were intubated, one patient had delirium tremens, and no patients seized. In the phenobarbital group no adverse events were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: More patients were discharged within three days if they received a single parenteral dose of phenobarbital on hospital day one, in addition to symptom-triggered lorazepam for the acute management of AWS. Emergency Medicine physicians should consider ordering one parenteral phenobarbital dose on hospital day one to patients presenting with AWS.
PMID: 30744913 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]