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July 1987

Clonidine vs Chlordiazepoxide in the Management of Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute, Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Dr Baumgartner), and the Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy (Dr Rowen), Columbia.

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(7):1223-1226. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370070037005

• To our knowledge, this is the first reported comparison of clonidine with benzodiazepine in the management of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome. In a double-blind trial, 61 men experiencing acute alcohol withdrawal were randomly assigned to receive clonidine or chlordiazepoxide over a 60-hour treatment period. Clonidine was more effective than chlordiazepoxide at reducing alcohol withdrawal scale scores, systolic blood pressures, and heart rates over the entire study period. Clonidine was as good as chlordiazepoxide at improving Cognitive Capacity Screening Exam, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, and Self-Rating Scale scores. Adverse drug reactions reported by each group were similar, though less nausea and vomiting were observed in the clonidine group. Clonidine may represent a new alternative agent for the management of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:1223-1226)