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J Am Board Fam Pract. 1993 Sep-Oct;6(5):502-4.

Prolonged delirium tremens requiring massive doses of medication.

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  • 1Department of Medical Education, St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA.

Abstract

Delirium tremens might last for weeks and treatment requires massive benzodiazepine doses, yet it is possible to manage patients with this condition successfully. In this case of delirium tremens, standard agents at the usual recommended doses were not sufficient to achieve control of confusion and agitation or to stabilize neurologic and cardiovascular parameters. The patient required extraordinarily high doses of central nervous system depressants for an extended period. Midazolam, a short-acting benzodiazepine, was used but was associated with metabolic acidosis and was extremely expensive. Although high-dose midazolam should probably be avoided, extremely high dose benzodiazepine use for an extended period might be necessary in some cases. In this circumstance we advise diazepam because of its low cost and relative safety. The tendencies to withhold large doses for fear of side effects or to give up in cases requiring prolonged intensive support must be resisted to minimize the mortality from this severe illness.

Comment in

  • Prolonged delirium tremens. [J Am Board Fam Pract. 1994]
PMID:
8213241
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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