Double-blind comparison of lorazepam and chlordiazepoxide in the treatment of the acute alcohol abstinence syndrome

J Solomon, L A Rouck, H H Koepke
Clinical Therapeutics 1983, 6 (1): 52-8
The anxiolytic efficacy and safety of lorazepam and chlordiazepoxide were evaluated and compared during a five-day double-blind trial in 50 male inpatients who were experiencing acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The total daily doses of lorazepam and chlordiazepoxide were tapered from 6 to 2 mg and from 150 to 50 mg, respectively, during the first four days; no medication was given on day 5. Drug effectiveness was measured by improvements in the total severity assessment score (TSAS), in the three composite TSAS factors, and by the physician's global rating. No drug-related adverse effects occurred during treatment. Vital signs remained stable, and laboratory test results remained within normal limits. The results indicate that lorazepam was as effective as chlordiazepoxide in reducing the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. Because of its simpler and more predictable metabolic pathway and its insignificant accumulation in plasma during multiple-dose therapy, lorazepam may be the drug of choice if benzodiazepine therapy is required for chronic alcoholics with acute withdrawal symptoms.

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