Effect of Adjunctive Dexmedetomidine in the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Compared to Benzodiazepine Symptom-Triggered Therapy in Critically Ill Patients: The EvADE Study

Link to article at PubMed

J Pharm Pract. 2020 Dec 10:897190020977755. doi: 10.1177/0897190020977755. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of adjunctive dexmedetomidine for alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) treatment compared to symptom-triggered benzodiazepine therapy.

METHODS: This single-center, retrospective, cohort study evaluated patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with AWS. Patients were divided into 2 groups: adjunctive dexmedetomidine or symptom-triggered therapy (control). Primary outcome was change in Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) score. Secondary outcomes assessed cumulative ICU benzodiazepine requirement and ICU/hospital length of stay (LOS). Safety outcomes evaluated incidence of adverse events, new onset seizures, and intubation. Propensity matching was performed to minimize differences between study groups.

RESULTS: Overall, 147 patients were included, 56 in the dexmedetomidine group and 91 in the control group. Patient demographics were similar, however baseline CIWA-Ar score was statistically higher in the dexmedetomidine group. Following propensity matching, 55 patients were included in each group. No significant difference was noted for change in CIWA-Ar score (median, IQR) [3.8 (-0.4-12.3) dexmedetomidine vs. 5.4 (1.4-12.9) control, p = 0.223]. Secondary endpoints revealed increased benzodiazepine requirements (p = 0.001), prolonged ICU LOS (p = 0.050), and more frequent use of physical restraints (p = 0.001) in the dexmedetomidine group. While not statistically significant, the development of new onset seizures (p = 0.775) and intubation (p = 0.294) occurred more frequently in the dexmedetomidine group.

CONCLUSION: The addition of dexmedetomidine to symptom-triggered benzodiazepines for AWS did not produce a significant change in CIWA-Ar scores from baseline compared to symptom-triggered therapy alone. The increased rate of new onset seizures and intubation warrant further investigation into the safety of dexmedetomidine in AWS.

PMID:33297835 | DOI:10.1177/0897190020977755

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