Ativan Side Effects

Ativan for Alcohol Withdrawal Therapy

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a condition noted in some individuals who consume moderate to large amounts of alcohol over prolonged periods of time. Abrupt discontinuation of alcohol intake in these individuals can lead to acute withdrawal syndrome manifest by agitation, confusion and hallucinations, hypertension, tachycardia, sweating, and the combination of symptoms known as Delirium Tremens. This is syndrome can be very severe and life-threatening. The use of benzodiazepines including Ativan is well-established as effective in reducing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Usually high doses of Ativan or another benzodiazepines are used initially with a very gradual taper in dosage to allow the affected individuals central nervous system to gradually compensate for the discontinuation of alcohol.

Ativan is felt to be a fairly good options for treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome because it’s available both parenterally and orally and because it has a serum half-life conducive to gradual tapering of dosage and avoidance of abrupt increases and alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms. In addition to the use of benzodiazepines during alcohol withdrawal syndrome it’s very important to monitor patients electrolytes and to supplement magnesium as well as thiamine to prevent Wernicke syndrome.

Alternatives to Ativan for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome include numerous other benzodiazepines, barbiturates, baclofen, clonidine, and ethanol itself. Still benzodiazepines like Ativan are by far the most popular medications used for inpatient therapy of acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

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