Benzodiazepines in the Treatment of Alcoholism

This post comprises three sections that cover the main aspects of benzodiazepines and alcohol: (1) the basic pharmacology of benzodiazepines; (2) use of benzodiazepines in the treatment of withdrawal; and (3) the use of benzodiazepines in treating alcoholics. The basic studies suggest that a major site of action of alcohol may be the GABA/benzodiazepine receptor complex and that compensatory alterations in this complex may underly withdrawal. In the section on alcohol withdrawal, interactions between the GABA/benzodiazepine receptor complex, sympathetic nervous system, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are discussed. Use of benzodiazepines in the treatment of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome are reviewed, including the possibility that the benzodiazepines may prevent withdrawal-induced “kindling”. Lastly, we review indications for, and efficacy of, benzodiazepines in long-term treatment of patients with alcoholism. Benzodiazepines are not indicated for the treatment of alcoholism. Furthermore, they have very few indications in alcoholics and their dependency-producing potency has to be appreciated when they are used in patients with alcoholism. The benzodiazepines () are a group of compounds that were first Read more […]

Drug Testing

Many organizations require individuals to undergo drug testing if they wish to be considered for a job and sometimes if they wish to stay on the job. In addition, individuals on probation for crimes often must undergo random drug tests and a failure — a positive drug test — is a violation of their probation and must be adjudicated in a court to determine if the individual should be given more probation or serve the jail or prison sentence that was foregone in lieu of probation. Parolees — individuals newly released from prison — often must also undergo random drug tests and a failure is grounds for return to prison. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends testing for five substances, including amphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust). Amphetamines can be tested for up to 48 hours after the drug was ingested. According to pharmacologist Karen E. Moeller and colleagues, many drugs can give a false reading for amphetamines, such as the antidepressants bupropion (Wellbutrin), desipramine (Norpramin), or fluoxetine (Prozac), as well as pseudoephedrine (an ingredient in many cough and cold remedies), the blood pressure medication labetalol (Normodyne), the Parkinsons Read more […]