Alcohol withdrawal syndrome: improving outcomes in the emergency department with aggressive management strategies

Link to article at PubMed

Emerg Med Pract. 2021 Mar 15;23(Suppl 3):1-41.


Alcohol use disorder is a prevalent medical and psychiatric disease, and consequently, alcohol withdrawal is encountered frequently in the emergency department. Patients commonly manifest hyperadrenergic signs and symptoms, necessitating admission to the intensive care unit, administration of intravenous sedatives, and frequently, adjunctive pharmacotherapy. This issue reviews the pathophysiology of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, describes the manifestations of alcohol withdrawal, and examines the available evidence for optimal treatment of alcohol withdrawal. An aggressive frontloading approach with benzodiazepines is presented, and the management of benzodiazepine-resistant disease is addressed.


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