Effectiveness of Gabapentin as a Benzodiazepine-Sparing Agent in Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome


North Florida


North Florida Regional Medical Center

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Humans, Gabapentin, Male, Benzodiazepines, Female, Middle Aged, Substance Withdrawal Syndrome, Adult, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Aged, Length of Stay


Internal Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences | Therapeutics


Background and Objectives: Gabapentin has shown promise as a potential agent for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of gabapentin as a benzodiazepine-sparing agent in patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal treatment in all the hospitals of a large tertiary healthcare system. Materials and Methods: Medical records of patients admitted to the hospital for alcohol withdrawal management between 1 January 2020 and 31 August 2022 were reviewed. Patients were divided into two cohorts: benzodiazepine-only treatment who received benzodiazepines as the primary pharmacotherapy and gabapentin adjunctive treatment who received gabapentin in addition to benzodiazepines. The outcomes assessed included the total benzodiazepine dosage administered during the treatment and the length of hospital stay. The statistical models were calibrated to account for various factors. Results: A total of 4364 patients were included in the final analysis. Among these, 79 patients (1.8%) received gabapentin in addition to benzodiazepines, and 4285 patients (98.2%) received benzodiazepines only. Patients administered gabapentin required significantly lower average cumulative benzodiazepine dosages, approximately 17.9% less, compared to those not receiving gabapentin (median 2 mg vs. 4 mg of lorazepam equivalent dose (p < 0.01)). However, there were no significant differences in outcomes between the two groups. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that using gabapentin with benzodiazepine was associated with a reduction in the cumulative benzodiazepine dosage for alcohol withdrawal. Considering gabapentin as an adjunctive therapy holds promise for patients with comorbidities who could benefit from reducing benzodiazepine dose. This strategy warrants further investigation.

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