Article

The alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurosciences, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry (Impact Factor: 4.87). 09/2008; 79(8):854-62. DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2007.128322
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a common management problem in hospital practice for neurologists, psychiatrists and general physicians alike. Although some patients have mild symptoms and may even be managed in the outpatient setting, others have more severe symptoms or a history of adverse outcomes that requires close inpatient supervision and benzodiazepine therapy. Many patients with AWS have multiple management issues (withdrawal symptoms, delirium tremens, the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, seizures, depression, polysubstance abuse, electrolyte disturbances and liver disease), which requires a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach. Although AWS may be complex, careful evaluation and available treatments should ensure safe detoxification for most patients.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
141 Views
  • Source
    Textbook of Addiction Treatment: International Perspectives, 2014, 11/2014: chapter Substance-Induced Mental Disorders: pages 1925-1936;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a glutamate-modulating agent with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, has been considered as a potential anti-addictive drug. Beneficial effects were reported for cocaine, cannabis, and tobacco addicts, but the effect of NAC in alcoholics or in alcohol animal models is unknown. The aggravation of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, has been associated with increased levels of serum corticosterone and leptin. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the effects of NAC on anxiety, as well as corticosterone and leptin serum levels, after cessation of chronic alcohol treatment in rats. Male Wistar rats were treated with 2 g/kg ethanol, twice daily, by gavage for 30 days; control animals received an appropriate dose of glucose to balance caloric intake. Rats were treated for 4 days with NAC (60 and 90 mg/kg, intra-peritoneally [i.p.]) or saline after alcohol cessation. Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, rats were exposed to a 5-min session in the open-field test (OF). Corticosterone and leptin serum levels were determined by ELISA in samples collected within 30 min after the OF. Results showed that rats were hypoactive (decreased rearing, peripheral, and total crossings), and that corticosterone and leptin levels were increased 5 days after alcohol cessation. Four days of NAC prevented the behavioral and biochemical changes brought about by alcohol cessation. We suggest that, in addition to the anti-addictive properties reported for other drugs of abuse, NAC is potentially useful in the management of alcohol withdrawal. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.) 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.alcohol.2015.01.009 · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) may develop within 6-24 h after the abrupt discontinuation or decrease of alcohol consumption. Symptoms can vary from autonomic hyperactivity and agitation to delirium tremens. The gold-standard treatment for AWS is with benzodiazepines (BZDs). Among the BZDs, different agents (i.e., long-acting or short-acting) and different regimens (front-loading, fixed-dose or symptom-triggered) may be chosen on the basis of patient characteristics. Severe withdrawal could require ICU admission and the use of barbiturates or propofol. Other drugs, such as α2-agonists (clonidine and dexmetedomidine) and β-blockers can be used as adjunctive treatments to control neuroautonomic hyperactivity. Furthermore, neuroleptic agents can help control hallucinations. Finally, other medications for the treatment for AWS have been investigated with promising results. These include carbamazepine, valproate, sodium oxybate, baclofen, gabapentin and topiramate. The usefulness of these agents are discussed.
    Drugs 03/2015; 75(4):353-65. DOI:10.1007/s40265-015-0358-1 · 4.13 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
24 Downloads
Available from
Jul 15, 2014