Utilizing CIWA-Ar to assess use of benzodiazepines in patients vulnerable to alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Michelle Ann Nuss, D. Michael Elnicki, Teresa S. Dunsworth, Eugene H. Makela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


To determine whether use of the revised Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment (CIWA-Ar) would better guide treatment for the Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS), we prospectively studied 16 patients identified as alcohol dependent or with a positive blood alcohol level on admission. All patients were administered the CIWA-Ar. If it was > or = 10, the patient was randomized to a benzodiazepine. If the CIWA-Ar was < 10, the patient was observed and the CIWA-Ar was administered every eight hours for 48 hours. Of the 35 patients screened, 16 were enrolled. Seven patients had a score of > or = 10 and entered a benzodiazepine treatment program. The mean CIWA-Ar score was 18 +/- 10. The remaining nine patients had an initial CIWA-Ar < 10, with a mean score of 3.8 +/- 2.4. We safely withheld detoxification regimens in 9 of 16 patients based on CIWA-Ar scores. The CIWA-Ar may obviate over-utilization of benzodiazepines in patients with AWS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalThe West Virginia medical journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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