This study will evaluate a safe and useful medication for outpatient detoxification that is
as effective as benzodiazepines in the short-term, and more effective in the protracted
withdrawal period. Gabapentin (Neurontin) will be compared to a standard benzodiazepine,
lorazepam (Ativan), for its effectiveness in treating alcohol withdrawal.
- Meets criteria for alcohol dependence and uncomplicated alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
- Subjects must be medically stable (not likely to require hospitalization for medical
complications within 10 days).
- Have a clinical withdrawal assessment prior to study.
- Must be medically acceptable for study treatment. Considerations include no past or
present physical disorder that is likely to deteriorate during participation. No ECG
abnormality which would likely worsen during participation and no clinical laboratory
abnormality that would also suggest deterioration during treatment.
- Able to read, write, and speak English.
- Have a negative urine drug screen for benzodiazepines or other sedative hypnotics,
opiates, and stimulates prior to entering the study.
- Current diagnosis of any other substance dependence syndrome other than alcohol
dependence (excluding nicotine and caffeine dependence).
- Use of pharmacological agents within the last 14 days that are known to lower the
seizure threshold or augment or decrease the alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
- History of alcohol withdrawal seizures, epilepsy or delirium tremens.
- Diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or dementia.
- Liver function tests higher than normal.
- History of hepatic encephalopathy, jaundice, ascites, diabetes, or renal disease.
- Females who are pregnant or nursing.
- Subjects with known sensitivity of previous adverse reaction to gabapentin,
lorazepam, or other benzodiazepines.
- History of severe GI disease which might render absorption of the medication
difficult or produce medical instability of the patient during detoxification which
would include active peptic ulcer disease, ulcerative colitis, regional colitis, or
evidence by history or physical exam of GI bleeding.
- Unable to provide an informed consent.