Alcohol withdrawal.

From the Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Southern medical journal (Impact Factor: 1.12). 11/2012; 105(11):607-12. DOI: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e31826efb2d
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alcohol withdrawal is a common clinical condition that has a variety of complications and morbidities. The manifestations can range from mild agitation to withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens. The treatments for alcohol withdrawal include benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers and antihypertensives. Although benzodiazepines are presently a first-line therapy, there is controversy regarding the efficacies of these medications compared with others. Treatment protocols often involve one of two contrasting approaches: symptom-triggered versus fixed-schedule dosing of benzodiazepines. We describe these protocols in our review and examine the data supporting symptom-triggered dosing as the preferred method for most patients in withdrawal.The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol scoring system for alcohol withdrawal streamlines care, optimizes patient management, and is the best scale available for withdrawal assessment. Quality improvement implications for inpatient management of alcohol withdrawal include increasing training for signs of withdrawal and symptom recognition, adding new hospital protocols to employee curricula, and ensuring manageable patient-to-physician and patient-to-nurse ratios.

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    ABSTRACT: Background To date, no screening tools for alcohol withdrawal syndromes (AWS) have been validated in the medically ill. Although several tools quantify the severity of AWS (e.g., Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol [CIWA]), none identify subjects at risk of AWS, thus missing the opportunity for timely prophylaxis. Moreover, there are no validated tools for the prediction of severe AWS in the medically ill. Objectives Our goals were (1) to conduct a systematic review of the published literature on AWS to identify clinical factors associated with the development of AWS, (2) to use the identified factors to develop a tool for the prediction of alcohol withdrawal among patients at risk, and (3) to conduct a pilot study to assess the validity of the tool. Methods For the creation of the Prediction of Alcohol Withdrawal Severity Scale (PAWSS), we conducted a systematic literature search using PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses) guidelines for clinical factors associated with the development of AWS, using PubMed, PsychInfo, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Databases. Eligibility criteria included: (i) manuscripts dealing with human subjects, age 18 years or older, (ii) manuscripts directly addressing descriptions of AWS or its predisposing factors, including case reports, naturalistic case descriptions, and all types of clinical trials (e.g., randomized, single-blind, or open label studies), (iii) manuscripts describing characteristics of alcohol use disorder (AUD), and (iv) manuscripts dealing with animal data (which were considered only if they directly dealt with variables described in humans). Obtained data were used to develop the Prediction of Alcohol Withdrawal Severity Scale, in order to assist in the identification of patients at risk for moderate to severe AWS. For the Pilot Study A pilot study was conducted to assess the new tool’s psychometric qualities on patients admitted to a general inpatient medicine unit over a 2-week period, who agreed to participate in the study. Blind to PAWSS results, a separate group of researchers retrospectively examined the medical records for evidence of AWS. Results The search produced 2802 articles describing factors potentially associated with increased risk for AWS, increased severity of withdrawal symptoms, and potential characteristics differentiating subjects with various forms of AWS. Of these, 446 articles met inclusion criteria and underwent further scrutiny, yielding a total of 233 unique articles describing factors predictive of AWS. A total of 10 items were identified as correlated with moderate to severe AWS (i.e., withdrawal hallucinosis, withdrawal-related seizures, and delirium tremens) and used to construct the PAWSS. During the pilot study, a total of 68 subjects underwent evaluation with PAWSS. In this pilot sample the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of PAWSS were 100%, using the threshold score of 4. Discussion The results of the literature search identified 10 items which may be correlated with risk for moderate to severe AWS. These items were assembled into a tool to assist in the identification of patients at risk: PAWSS. The results of this pilot study suggest that PAWSS may be useful in identifying risk of moderate to severe AWS in medically ill, hospitalized individuals. PAWSS is the first validated tool for the prediction of severe AWS in the medically ill and its use may aid in the early identification of patients at risk for moderate to severe AWS, allowing for prophylaxis against AWS before severe alcohol withdrawal syndromes develop.
    Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.) 06/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.01.004 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Delirium is a common acute neuropsychiatric disorder caused by a variety of physical insults. It is commonly associated with a variety of serious adverse outcomes, including elevated mortality. There are few studies of delirium occurring in psychiatric patients, including its mortality. The aim was to determine the psychiatric diagnostic profile of Danish psychiatric inpatients diagnosed with delirium and to compare standardized mortality ratio (SMR) in this group with the Danish population and general psychiatric inpatients from 1995 through 2012. Methods All first time ICD-10 diagnoses of delirium among psychiatric inpatients were identified in the nationwide Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register (DPCRR) from 1995 through 2012. Results A total of 7,179 persons diagnosed with delirium was identified in the DPCRR between 1995 and 2012. Of these patients 40.8% had more than one diagnosis of delirium during the period. We identified three distinct groups, based on the first delirium-diagnosis; unspecified delirium (76.9%), comorbid delirium-dementia (19.8%), and drug-related delirium (3.3%). Use of sedative-hypnotics was noted in 46% of those with drug-related delirium. The SMR of delirious psychiatric inpatients compared to all psychiatric inpatients was stable at 1.7 throughout the time period. Conclusion Delirium occurring in psychiatric inpatients is associated with elevated mortality. Sedative-hypnotic agents are commonly involved in drug-related delirium. Particular preventative effort is warranted for patients with a previous history of delirium, as we found approximately 40% with more than one episode of delirium.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research 09/2014; 77(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.06.003 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purposeDrugs that more potently or effectively reduce ethanol-maintained behavior versus an alternative are considered selective and are considered promising pharmacotherapies for alcoholism. Such results are often obtained using separate groups or multiple schedules where ethanol and the alternative are available alone or sequentially. Recently, we observed that when ethanol and food were available sequentially under a multiple schedule, fluvoxamine and varenicline were selective; yet this selectivity disappeared when ethanol and food were concurrently available.Experimental approachWe examined the generality of these findings by comparing doses of several drugs required to decrease ethanol- and food-maintained responding under a multiple schedule and under a concurrent schedule. Effects were determined for chlordiazepoxide, 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), meta-Chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), morphine, naltrexone, and d-amphetamine.Key resultsUnder the multiple schedule, ED50 values for decreases in ethanol-maintained responding were significantly different and lower than ED50s for decreases in food-maintained responding (demonstrating selectivity) for each drug except for chlordiazepoxide (which was equipotent) and naltrexone (which did not affect responding). However, this selectivity vanished or even inverted under the concurrent schedule, such that ED50 values for decreasing ethanol- and food-maintained responding were not different (or, following DOI, the ED50 for food-maintained responding was lower than for ethanol-maintained responding).Conclusions and implicationsResults are consistent with those seen following fluvoxamine and varenicline administration, and suggest that selectivity is assay-dependent. These results indicate the need for careful interpretation of selective drug effects, especially when obtained in situations where ethanol or the alternative is the only programmed reinforcement available.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 04/2014; DOI:10.1111/bph.12707 · 4.99 Impact Factor