Pharmacotherapeutic management of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome in critically Ill patients

Link to article at PubMed

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2020 Jun;21(9):1083-1092. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2020.1746271. Epub 2020 Apr 13.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a common and life-threatening condition in patients suffering from alcohol use disorder. Treatment of this syndrome is challenging, especially in patients that are critically ill, either because of withdrawal symptoms or underlying conditions. For the treatment, several pharmacological agents exist, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or dexmedetomidine. Nonetheless, as alcohol withdrawal syndromes can occur in every clinical setting, it is necessary to provide a guideline for clinicians confronted with this syndrome in varying clinical contexts.

AREAS COVERED: The authors provide a systematic review of the literature found in PubMed and Embase following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines.

EXPERT OPINION: For the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, medications targeting the GABA system are preferred. Benzodiazepines are regarded as the gold standard. However, as many adjunct therapeutic options exist, it is essential to find symptom-triggered approaches and treatment protocols for the variety of clinical contexts. Apart from that, it is necessary to compare protocols toward clinical variables rather than investigating medications that are in use for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

PMID:32281894 | DOI:10.1080/14656566.2020.1746271

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