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January 1988

Impact of Clonidine on Alcohol Withdrawal States

Author Affiliations

Lansing, Mich

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(1):241-245. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380010243030

To the Editor.  —In a recent issue of the Archives,1 Baumgartner and Rowen reported that clonidine was as effective as chlordiazepoxide in relieving signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The major goals of treating patients who are experiencing alcohol withdrawal should include (1) reducing patient discomfort, (2) alleviating dangerous signs of withdrawal, (3) preventing morbid sequellae, and (4) preparing the alcoholic to accept treatment for his/her disease. Though Baumgartner and Rowen suggest that "clonidine should be further investigated and seriously considered in the pharmacotherapy of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome," a thorough examination of these goals may reveal that clonidine does not yet deserve this acclaim.There has been no agreement among investigators as to how to objectively and standardly assess reduction in patient discomfort during trials of therapy for alcohol withdrawal syndromes.2 None of the studies testing the effectiveness of clonidine have used the same outcome measures. These

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