[Benzodiazepines in the treatment of alcoholism]

J Ades, C Rodière
L'Encéphale 1983, 9 (4): 293B-298B
Various indications of benzodiazepines in the treatment of chronic alcoholism are discussed. They are prescribed in the treatment of Delirium Tremens and other acute withdrawal syndromes, often by intramuscular injections or intraveinous infusions. Their efficacy is particularly marked on withdrawal seizures, agitation, more inconstant on confusion, hallucinations and even on tremor symptoms. They more prevent withdrawal symptoms than they reverse severe ethanol withdrawal symptomatology, on humans like on experimental animals. Most authors recommend short prescriptions of BZD in alcoholic patients: the main difficulty is not the problem of the pharmacological interactions between alcohol and BZD, only observed during acute and important ingestions of alcohol and more linked to summation than to potentialisation , but the risk of an abuse and even a psychological and physical dependency to BZD. Such a dependence syndrome would probably develop more frequently in alcoholic patients. One must not overrate its importance; the extended prescription of BZD must not be therefore prohibited when they seem useful in the maintain of alcohol abstinence.

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