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Study, Mar/20: Management of Alcohol Withdrawal in the Emergency Department...


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The full title of this American study is "Management of Alcohol Withdrawal in the Emergency Department: Current Perspectives".






Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) is a common, heterogenous, and life-threatening complication of alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD is a leading cause of worldwide mortality, and many patients with AUD will develop AWS during their ED course. This review summarizes the epidemiology, pathology, and management of AWS and AUD in the emergency setting. The time course of AWS and its impact on ED treatment is emphasized. Once AWS is diagnosed, symptom-triggered benzodiazepine administration remains the most commonly provided treatment but may not be appropriate for patients with significant medical or psychiatric comorbidity or pending discharge. In these cases, ED clinicians may consider short courses of barbiturates or alternative regimens based on novel anticonvulsants. Specific treatment protocols are enumerated for clinical practice. Finally, emergency providers must not only manage acute patients' AWS but also lay the foundation for successful treatment of AUD. An approach to the disposition of the patient with AUD is presented. The authors examine shortcomings in the extant literature and suggest opportunities for further study.

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