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[Q&A] Adjunctive Ketamine for Non-Intubated Alcohol Withdrawal? - #DrugQueryInbox

Updated: May 30



📑 #DrugQueryInbox: What are my thoughts on Ketamine as an adjunctive therapy for alcohol withdrawal? Is it ever my first go-to or do I prefer antipsychotics? (@lauralee_4)

📋 Choosing between the two, I prefer antidopaminergics over Ketamine mostly since I'm going to be aggressive with Phenobarbital and shouldn't need Ketamine NMDA receptor antagonism.

🔍 The underlying problem with alcohol withdrawal is decreased GABA activity and excess glutamate, which is neuroexcitatory and a huge contributor to our hyperactive withdrawal symptoms.

💥 Phenobarbital is the perfect TWO-FER for alcohol withdrawal since it increases GABA receptors activity via prolonging Cl- channel opening and reducing glutamate release by antagonizing the NMDA receptor. Antidopaminergics also have a longer half life and anti-emetic properties compared to Ketamine.

💀 To avoid additional IV adjunctive therapies, I'd first offer oral agents such as chlordiazepoxide, gabapentin, or clonidine.

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Not medical advice. Educational purposes only. No relationships to report.


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