Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN)
gabapentin, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, benzodiazepines
Alcohol abuse, complicated by a dependency relationship, is the third leading modifiable cause of death in the United States. In patients with chronic alcohol use disorder who experience a sudden cessation or significant decrease in alcohol consumption, half will experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Benzodiazepines are the typical first line treatment for alcohol withdrawal. However, benzodiazepines carry with them significant risks and side effects. As a result, ongoing research has taken place to find either an alternative treatment or a method of reducing total benzodiazepine dosage during treatment. Gabapentin is a medication that is primarily used for seizure control and neuralgia, but has also been used in the off-label treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, alone or in addition to benzodiazepines. The purpose of this project is to perform a literature review of the available research to determine the efficacy of gabapentin in either replacing or augmenting benzodiazepine usage through the alcohol withdrawal period without sacrificing patient outcomes. Results from available literature since 2012 show evidence in support of gabapentin as an effective treatment, either alone or in conjunction with benzodiazepines, but it is not conclusive. Several studies did show decreased use of benzodiazepines or equal effectiveness when compared head-to-head in some cases. More research is necessary to establish effective dosing of gabapentin as well as if certain populations, such as patients with a reduced creatinine clearance, would still benefit with gabapentin over solitary use of benzodiazepines.
Fredona, Douglas R., "Efficacy of Gabapentin versus Benzodiazepines in the Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome" (2023). Master's Projects. 1288.