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What are the treatment options for delirium tremens?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Treatment for delirium tremens involves life-saving measures to control fever, heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety. Benzodiazepine, a mild sedative, is usually administered at the beginning of treatment to reduce anxiety, and haloperidol is given for hallucinations. Because benzodiazepine is addictive, the doctor will usually discontinue as soon as possible and rely on other medications to reduce anxiety. Phenytoin, or another anticonvulsant, helps to reduce tremors and seizures, and medicines like clonidine help control cardiovascular symptoms. Intravenous fluids help prevent dehydration, and high doses of thiamin prevent Wernicke's encephalopathy, a complication of severe alcohol abuse. The doctor will also address any complications that arise during withdrawal, like pneumonia and pancreatitis. Once the emergency has been handled, the doctor will discuss the importance of long-term care to avoid alcoholism and other complications resulting from extensive alcohol abuse.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.