A retrospective review and assessment of benzodiazepines in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal in hospitalized patients.

Abstract:

:Little information has been published concerning differences among the benzodiazepines in treating hospitalized patients with severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. We attempted to determine the length and type of hospital stay, and the pattern and appropriateness of administration, dosage requirements, and costs associated with benzodiazepines in patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal. A 1-year retrospective analysis was performed for 57 hospitalized patients. Appropriate therapy was defined as lorazepam for patients 60 years and older or those with hepatic dysfunction, and chlordiazepoxide or diazepam for all other patients. Drug costs were calculated based on acquisition costs. The mean number of days of benzodiazepine treatment and length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) were 6.2 days (range 1-30 days) and 3.9 days (range 0-12 day), respectively. Fifty-six patients were admitted to the ICU for management or for monitoring continuous-infusion lorazepam; one patient received chlordiazepoxide on a general ward. Total mean lorazepam infusion required per patient was 324 mg (range 2-5956 mg). The total benzodiazepine acquisition cost was $56,489 (mean $1009, range $0.06-7157/patient). The total costs of benzodiazepine acquisition and ICU charge were $404,346 (mean $7462/patient). Based on our criteria, 41 of 57 patients could have been treated appropriately with chlordiazepoxide, which would have resulted in an estimated drug-acquisition cost savings of at least $37,000. Mean benzodiazepine dosage requirements in patients hospitalized for alcohol withdrawal appear higher than previously reported. Approximately 70% of our patients were not of advanced age and had no evidence of organ dysfunction, and therefore, could have been treated with an oxidized benzodiazepine (i.e., chlordiazepoxide).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

journal_name

Pharmacotherapy

journal_title

Pharmacotherapy

authors

Hoey LL,Nahum A,Vance-Bryan K

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1994-09-01 00:00:00

pages

572-8

issue

5

eissn

0277-0008

issn

1875-9114

journal_volume

14

pub_type

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