Treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome

Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Moscow, Russia

Alcohol withdrawal arises in result of long-lasting or short, but massive, alcohol abuse, manifests itself with oppressive symptoms and in some cases is complicated by seizures, hallucinosis and delirium tremens that may be life-threatening for patients. The leading neurochemical factors underlying alcohol withdrawal syndrome and its complications are lack of GABA and excessive glutamate activity, which is important for therapy choice. The first-line drugs in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome and alcoholic delirium are benzodiazepines, which have the maximum pharmacological similarity with ethanol. Other medications, including barbiturates, anticonvulsants, propofol, dexmedetomidine, and antipsychotics, may be used as alternatives to and in addition to benzodiazepines, especially in the case of protracted delirium with therapeutic resistance. Certain prospects in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome are associated with ethylmethylhydroxypyridine succinate, which is a bit similar to benzodiazepines in its pharmacology.
Keywords: alcohol use disorders, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, alcohol seizures, alcohol hallucinosis, delirium tremens, benzodiazepines.