Background: Benzodiazepines are the conventional mainstay to manage alcohol withdrawal; however, patients are subsequently at increased risk for poor sleep, cravings, and return to drinking. Research on alternative pharmacologic agents to facilitate safe alcohol withdrawal is scant. Gabapentin is one medication shown in small studies to reduce the need for benzodiazepines in the setting of alcohol withdrawal. The continuation of gabapentin after alcohol withdrawal appears to be safe during early sobriety and may aid in reducing alcohol-related cravings or returning to alcohol consumption. Use of a gabapentin-based, benzodiazepine-sparing protool began in early 2015 by the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service. Objective: A retrospective chart review was conducted to detect any safety concerns with use of a gabapentin protocol for alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Methods: Secondary outcomes were derived by comparing a matched cohort of patients who received benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Results: Seventy-seven patients had their alcohol withdrawal managed via a gabapentin protocol during the study period. No patients required transfer to a higher level of care or had a documented withdrawal seizure. Length of stay between the gabapentin protocol group and benzodiazepine group were similar. Conclusion: This preliminary data has supported the frequent use of this protocol in the general internal medicine practice and formalization of an institutional order set of this protocol for mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Prospective studies are required to validate findings.
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome.