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Am Fam Physician. 2005 Feb 1;71(3):495-502.

Ambulatory detoxification of patients with alcohol dependence.

Author information

  • University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. blondell@buffalo.edu

Abstract

Detoxification from alcohol can be undertaken in ambulatory settings with patients who are alcohol-dependent and show signs of mild to moderate withdrawal when they are not drinking. An appropriate candidate for outpatient detoxification should have arrangements to start an alcohol treatment program and a responsible support person who can monitor progress, and should not have significant, acute, comorbid conditions or risk factors for severe withdrawal. Long-acting benzodiazepines, the preferred medications for alcohol detoxification, can be given on a fixed schedule or through "front-loading" or "symptom-triggered" regimens. Adjuvant sympatholytics can be used to treat hyperadrenergic symptoms that persist despite adequate sedation. Progress can be monitored with the use of a standard withdrawal-assessment scale and daily physician contact. Detoxification is not a stand-alone treatment but should serve as a bridge to a formal treatment program for alcohol dependence.

PMID:
15712624
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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