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Pharmacological management of alcohol withdrawal in a general hospital

  • Siobhain Quinn (a1), Rani Samuel (a2), Jim Bolton (a3), Borislav Iankov (a4) and Anna Stout (a5)...
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.
Abstract
Aims and Method

To assess the quality of prescriptions for alcohol detoxification and vitamin prophylaxis for in-patients who were alcohol-dependent in a general hospital, before and after the introduction of prescribing guidelines. We assessed 27 prescription charts before and 22 after intervention against standards based on national guidelines.

Results

There was an increase of 43% (95% CI 20–65%) in the proportion of alcohol detoxification prescriptions that met the guidelines. for vitamin prophylaxis there was an increase of 64% (95% CI 42–85%).

Clinical Implications

The pharmacological management of alcohol withdrawal in the general hospital can be significantly improved by promoting and making readily available a prescribing guideline. In turn, this may reduce alcohol-related brain damage.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Cabinet Office (2003) Alcohol Reduction Strategy for England: Interim Analytical Report. TSO (The Stationery Office).
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Mayo-Smith, M. F., Beecher, L. H., et al (2004) Management of alcohol withdrawal, an evidence based practice guideline. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164, 14051412.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Pharmacological management of alcohol withdrawal in a general hospital

  • Siobhain Quinn (a1), Rani Samuel (a2), Jim Bolton (a3), Borislav Iankov (a4) and Anna Stout (a5)...
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.
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eLetters

Alcohol and the general hospital

Susan Gilfillan, alcohol liaison nurse
19 December 2008

We read the article by Queen et al on the pharmacological management of alcohol withdrawal a general hospital with interest. Forth Valley NHS embarked on a similar development with similarly positive results. However, we addressed two additional problems: firstly, we integrated the prescription of intravenous/intramuscular Vitamin B preparations into the prescription sheet for alcohol detoxification, and secondly, we employed an alcohol liaison nurse who ensured that our guidelines were known and used. A recent casenotes review spanning a 6 months’ period demonstrated that 97% of all patients treated for alcohol withdrawals in our general hospitals received intravenous or intramuscular vitamin B preparations. Giving junior doctors little choice and space for one signature only appears to help. ... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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A correction has been issued for this article: