DELIRIUM TREMENS or convulsions are serious abstinence manifestations of physical dependence on alcohol (ethanol).1-3 This withdrawal syndrome can be associated with a fatal outcome, and its treatment is controversial, as indicated by the variety of results obtained with both old and new drugs that are being used in its management.2,4-8 Although the pharmacotherapy of this condition is most validly determined in man, clinical trials can be hazardous. A clinical comparison of paraldehyde and a phenothiazine in treating alcoholic delirium tremens was associated with mortality rates of 4.5% and 35%, respectively.8
Since clinical trials of drugs proposed for the treatment of delirium tremens involve hazards, it would be desirable to have an animal model to evaluate such drugs so that ineffective agents might be eliminated or tried only with extreme caution in the clinic. Recently it has been shown that dogs will develop physical dependence on alcohol
Essig CF, Jones BE, Lam RC. The Effect of Pentobarbital on Alcohol Withdrawal in Dogs. Arch Neurol. 1969;20(5):554–558. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480110118013
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