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Friday, May 18, 2012

Are Benzodiazepines Effective for Alcohol Withdrawal?

This Cochrane review evaluated the
effectiveness and safety of benzodiazepines
for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The reviewed
studies evaluated benzodiazepines
against placebos, benzodiazepines against other medications (including other anticonvulsants), and one benzodiazepine against a different benzo-diazepine. In general, the studies were small, had large heterogeneity, and had variable assessment outcomes, and most did not reach statistical
significance. Even with multiple studies, the only statistically significant finding in this review was that benzodiazepines were shown to be more effective than placebo for preventing withdrawal seizures; however, they were not shown to be superior to anticonvulsants or other medications

A parallel Cochrane
review examining anticonvulsants for alcohol withdrawal symptoms
showed a trend toward a protective benefit against seizures compared with placebo, but this did not reach statistical significance.

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