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Magnesium for alcohol withdrawal

  1. Michael Sarai1,
  2. Aaron M Tejani2,*,
  3. Alice Hill Wah Chan3,
  4. I Fan Kuo4,
  5. Juliana Li5

Editorial Group: Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group

Published Online: 5 JUN 2013

Assessed as up-to-date: 13 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008358.pub2

How to Cite

Sarai M, Tejani AM, Chan AHW, Kuo IF, Li J. Magnesium for alcohol withdrawal. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD008358. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008358.pub2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of British Columbia, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vancouver, BC, Canada

  2. 2

    University of British Columbia, Therapeutics Initiative, Vancouver, BC, Canada

  3. 3

    Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB, Canada

  4. 4

    UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada

  5. 5

    Fraser Health Authority, Clinical Research and Drug Information, Burnaby, Canada

*Aaron M Tejani, Therapeutics Initiative, University of British Columbia, 2176 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: New
  2. Published Online: 5 JUN 2013



References to studies included in this review

  1. References to studies included in this review
  2. References to studies excluded from this review
  3. Additional references
Aagaard 2005 {published data only}
  • Aagaard NK, Andersen H, Vilstrup H, Clausen T, Jakobsen J, Dorup I. Magnesium supplementation and muscle function in patients with alcoholic liver disease: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2005;40(8):972-9.
Gullestad 1992 {published data only}
  • Gullestad L, Dolva LO, Soyland E, Manger AT, Falch D, Kjekshus J. Oral magnesium supplementation improves metabolic variables and muscle strength in alcoholics. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research. UNITED STATES: Department of Internal Medicine, Baerum Hospital, Sandvika, Norway., 1992; Vol. 16, issue 5:986-90.
Poikolainen 2008 {published data only}
  • Poikolainen K, Alho H. Magnesium treatment in alcoholics: a randomized clinical trial. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy. England: Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies, Helsinki, Finland., 2008; Vol. 3:1.
Wilson 1984 {published data only}

References to studies excluded from this review

  1. References to studies included in this review
  2. References to studies excluded from this review
  3. Additional references
Aagaard 2003 {published data only}
Alexander 1978 {published data only}
  • Alexander PE, Van Kammen DP, Bunney WE Jr. Serum calcium and magnesium in schizophrenia: relationship to clinical phenomena and neuroleptic treatment. The British Journal of Psychiatry : the Journal of Mental Science 1978;133:143-9. [PUBMED: 354732]
Avsaroglu 2005 {published data only}
  • Avsaroglu D, Inal TC, Demir M, Attila G, Acarturk E, Emre Evlice Y, et al. Biochemical indicators and cardiac function tests in chronic alcohol abusers. Croatian Medical Journal 2005;46(2):233-7. [PUBMED: 15849844]
Bardhan 1988 {published data only}
  • Bardhan KD, Hunter JO, Miller JP, Thomson AB, Graham DY, Russell RI, et al. Antacid maintenance therapy in the prevention of duodenal ulcer relapse. Gut 1988;29(12):1748-54. [PUBMED: 3065157]
Bjorneboe 1988 {published data only}
Bonkovsky 1991 {published data only}
  • Bonkovsky HL, Singh RH, Jafri IH, Fiellin DA, Smith GS, Simon D, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of treatment of alcoholic hepatitis with parenteral nutrition and oxandrolone. II. Short-term effects on nitrogen metabolism, metabolic balance, and nutrition. The American Journal of Gastroenterology 1991;86(9):1209-18. [PUBMED: 1909086]
Coetzee 1998 {published data only}
Colson 1964 {published data only}
  • Colson JA, Gallay C. Trial treatment of hepatic metabolic disorders by an original formula containing mainly ornithine combined with various classical lipotropic substances [Essai de traitement des dysmetabolies hepatiques par une formule originale comportant pour la premiere fois de l'ornithine associé a diverses substances lipotropes classiques]. Toulouse Medical 1964;65:207-29. [PUBMED: 14143540]
Crews 2001 {published data only}
Deynet 1979 {published data only}
  • Deynet G, Reimer F. Treatment of alcoholic toxic fatty liver. A placebo-controlled trial with hepavis (author's transl) [Therapie der alkohol-toxischen Fettleber. Plazebo-kontrollierte Doppelblindstudie mit Hepavis.]. MMW, Munchener Medizinische Wochenschrift 1979;121(24):831-2. [PUBMED: 111085]
Dols 1985 {published data only}
  • Dols W, Verho M, Rangoonwala B, Jaeger S. Piretanide, a potassium stable diuretic, in the treatment of essential hypertension: a double-blind comparison of two formulations. The Journal of International Medical Research 1985;13(1):31-9. [PUBMED: 3884409]
Enmin 1969 {published data only}
  • Enmin GM. Features of active anti-alcohol therapy of patients who have suffered alcoholic psychoses [Osobennosti aktivnogo protivoalkogol'nogo lecheniia bol'nykh perenesshikh ostrye alkogol'nye psikhozy.]. Zhurnal Nevropatologii i Psikhiatrii Imeni S.S. Korsakova 1969;69(6):899-905. [PUBMED: 5364243]
Fogarty 2006 {published data only}
  • Fogarty A, Lewis SA, Scrivener SL, Antoniak M, Pacey S, Pringle M, et al. Corticosteroid sparing effects of vitamin C and magnesium in asthma: a randomised trial. Respiratory Medicine 2006;100(1):174-9. [PUBMED: 16338599]
Gilleran 1996 {published data only}
  • Gilleran G, O'Leary M, Bartlett WA, Vinall H, Jones AF, Dodson PM. Effects of dietary sodium substitution with potassium and magnesium in hypertensive type II diabetics: a randomised blind controlled parallel study. Journal of Human Hypertension 1996;10(8):517-21. [PUBMED: 8895035]
Gisselman 1982 {published data only}
  • Gisselmann A, Moyal R, Mollard MA, Marin A. Placebo-controlled study of a magnesium salt in 48 persons in a postalcoholic treatment center. Revue Alcool 1982;28:63-74.
Gisselman 1983 {published data only}
  • Gisselman A, Moyal R, Moard MA, Marin A. Clinical trial of a magnesium compound against placebo in 48 subjects in a post-cure center for alcoholism. Gazette Medical Francais 1983;90:57-61.
Grove 1985 {published data only}
  • Grove O, Bekker C, Jeppe-Hansen MG, Karstoft E, Sanchez G, Axelsson CK, et al. Ranitidine and high-dose antacid in reflux oesophagitis. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 1985;20(4):457-61. [PUBMED: 3895381]
Hantouche 1998 {published data only}
  • Hantouche EG, Guelfi JD, Comet D. alpha-beta L-aspartate magnesium in treatment of chronic benzodiazepine abuse: controlled and double-blind study versus placebo [Alpha-beta L-aspartate de magnesium dans l'arret de la consommation chronique des benzodiazepines: etude controlee en double aveugle versus placebo.]. L'Encephale 1998;24(5):469-79. [PUBMED: 9850822]
Herpin 1996 {published data only}
  • Herpin D, Ragot S. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring: non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment. Blood Pressure Monitoring 1996;1(3):241-5. [PUBMED: 10226236]
Herr 2000 {published data only}
  • Herr DL, Kelly K, Hall JB, Ulatowski J, Fulda GJ, Cason B, et al. Safety and efficacy of propofol with EDTA when used for sedation of surgical intensive care unit patients. Intensive Care Medicine 2000;26 Suppl 4:S452-62. [PUBMED: 11310908]
Hoes 1979 {published data only}
  • Hoes MJ. The significance of the serum levels of vitamin B-1 and magnesium in delirium tremens and alcoholism. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1979;40(11):476-9. [PUBMED: 489530]
Hoffmann 2004 {published data only}
  • Hoffmann K, Schulze MB, Schienkiewitz A, Nothlings U, Boeing H. Application of a new statistical method to derive dietary patterns in nutritional epidemiology. American Journal of Epidemiology 2004;159(10):935-44. [PUBMED: 15128605]
Hornyak 2004 {published data only}
  • Hornyak M, Haas P, Veit J, Gann H, Riemann D. Magnesium treatment of primary alcohol-dependent patients during subacute withdrawal: an open pilot study with polysomnography. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 2004;28(11):1702-9. [PUBMED: 15547457]
Hristova 1997 {published data only}
  • Hristova EN, Rehak NN, Cecco S, Ruddel M, Herion D, Eckardt M, et al. Serum ionized magnesium in chronic alcoholism: is it really decreased?. Clinical Chemistry 1997;43(2):394-9. [PUBMED: 9023146]
Iber 1987 {published data only}
Klag 1993 {published data only}
Lee 2012 {published data only}
  • Lee KS, Joe KH. Magnesium & acamprosate for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 2012;36:296A.
Meyer 1977 {published data only}
  • Meyer JG, Urban K. Electrolyte changes and acid base balance after alcohol withdrawal, with special reference to rum fits and magnesium depletion. Journal of Neurology 1977;215(2):135-40. [PUBMED: 68105]
Monteiro 1997 {published data only}
  • Monteiro CP, Varela A, Pinto M, Neves J, Felisberto GM, Vaz C, et al. Effect of an aerobic training on magnesium, trace elements and antioxidant systems in a Down syndrome population. Magnesium Research 1997;10(1):65-71. [PUBMED: 9339840]
Mooney 1985 {published data only}
  • Mooney A, Cross GM, Cater D, Morgan C. Response to "A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of magnesium sulfate in the ethanol withdrawal syndrome. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 1985; Vol. 9, issue 4:384-5. [PUBMED: 3901811]
Murck 1998 {published data only}
  • Murck H, Steiger A. Mg2+ reduces ACTH secretion and enhances spindle power without changing delta power during sleep in men -- possible therapeutic implications. Psychopharmacology 1998;137(3):247-52. [PUBMED: 9683002]
Mussalo-Rauhamaa 1987 {published data only}
  • Mussalo-Rauhamaa H, Poikolainen K, Karkkainen P, Lehto J. Decreased serum selenium and magnesium levels in drunkenness arrestees. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 1987;20(2):95-103. [PUBMED: 3678053]
Mutzell 1988 {published data only}
Naderi-Heiden 2005 {published data only}
  • Naderi-Heiden A, Frey R, Presslich O, Frottier P, Willinger U, Blasbichler T, et al. Effect of intravenous magnesium sulphate in reducing irritability and restlessness in pure and polysubstance opiate detoxification. Psychiatry Research 2005;135(1):53-63. [PUBMED: 15893381]
Nowson 1989 {published data only}
Paolisso 1989 {published data only}
  • Paolisso G, Tirelli A, Coppola L, Verrazzo G, Pizza G, Sgambato S, et al. Magnesium administration reduces platelet hyperaggregability in NIDDM. Diabetes Care 1989; Vol. 12, issue 2:167-8. [PUBMED: 2702901]
Pasternak 2005 {published data only}
  • Pasternak K, Dabrowski W, Wyciszczok T, Korycinska A, Dobija J, Biernacka J, et al. The relationship between magnesium, epinephrine and norepinephrine blood concentrations during CABG with normovolemic hemodilution. Magnesium Research 2005;18(4):245-52. [PUBMED: 16548139]
Pasternak 2006 {published data only}
  • Pasternak K, Dabrowski W, Dobija J, Wronskal J, Rzecki Z, Biernacka J. The effect of preoperative magnesium supplementation on blood catecholamine concentrations in patients undergoing CABG. Magnesium Research 2006;19(2):113-22. [PUBMED: 16955723]
Pienaar 1995 {published data only}
  • Pienaar WP, Roberts MC, Emsley RA, Aalbers C, Taljaard FJ. The thyrotropin releasing hormone stimulation test in alcoholism. Alcohol and Alcoholism 1995;30(5):661-7. [PUBMED: 8554651]
Princi 1997 {published data only}
  • Princi T, Artero M, Malusa N, Uxa L, Livia V, Reina G. Serum and intracellular magnesium concentrations in intoxicated chronic alcoholic and control subjects. Drug and A lcohol Dependence 1997;46(1-2):119-22. [PUBMED: 9246560]
Prokop 1970 {published data only}
  • Prokop L. Studies of the vegetative action mechanism of kavain and magnesium orotate [Untersuchungen zum vegetativen Wirkungsmechaismus von Kavain und Magnesium-Orotat.]. HNO 1970;18(11):399-402. [PUBMED: 4933704]
Prokop 1971 {published data only}
  • Prokop L. Studies of the vegetative action mechanism of kavain and magnesium orotate [Untersuchungen zum vegetativen Wirkungsmechanismus von Kavain und Magnesium-Orotat.]. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) 1971;121(19):399-402. [PUBMED: 4934590]
Pumarino 1996 {published data only}
  • Pumarino H, Gonzalez P, Oviedo S, Lillo R, Bustamante E. Assessment of bone status in intermittent and continuous alcoholics, without evidence of liver damage [Evaluacion del compromiso oseo en alcoholicos intermitentes y continuos, sin dano hepatico evidente.]. Revista Medica de Chile 1996;124(4):423-30. [PUBMED: 9110481]
Rissanen 1987 {published data only}
  • Rissanen A, Sarlio-Lahteenkorva S, Alfthan G, Gref CG, Keso L, Salaspuro M. Employed problem drinkers: a nutritional risk group?. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1987;45(2):456-61. [PUBMED: 3812344]
Ritschel 1970 {published data only}
  • Ritschel WA, Wagensonner D, Heringer EA. Statistical evaluation of the effect of 3 stimulants of cellular metabolism [Statistische Auswertung uber die Wirksamkeit dreier Zell-Stoffwechsel-Stimulantia.]. Schweizerische Rundschau fur Medizin Praxis 1970;59(36):1278-83. [PUBMED: 5283789]
Rouse 1983 {published data only}
  • Rouse IL, Armstrong BK, Beilin LJ. The relationship of blood pressure to diet and lifestyle in two religious populations. Journal of Hypertension 1983;1(1):65-71. [PUBMED: 6681026]
Schmidt 1994 {published data only}
  • Schmidt ME, Kruesi MJ, Elia J, Borcherding BG, Elin RJ, Hosseini JM, et al. Effect of dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate on calcium and magnesium concentration in hyperactive boys. Psychiatry Research 1994;54(2):199-210. [PUBMED: 7761553]
Schroder 2004 {published data only}
  • Schroder H, Marrugat J, Covas M, Elosua R, Pena A, Weinbrenner T, et al. Population dietary habits and physical activity modification with age. European J ournal of Clinical Nutrition 2004;58(2):302-11. [PUBMED: 14749751]
Sherbaniuk 1985 {published data only}
  • Sherbaniuk RW, Wensel RH, Bailey RJ, Kirdeikis P, Fisher D, Thomson AB. Comparative study of cimetidine and Mylanta II in the 6-week treatment of gastric ulcer. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 1985;7(3):211-5. [PUBMED: 3894494]
Simon 1988 {published data only}
  • Simon J, Filipovsky J, Rosolova H, Topolcan O, Karlicek V. Cross-sectional study of beer consumption and blood pressure in middle-aged men. Journal of Human Hypertension 1988;2(1):1-6. [PUBMED: 3266252]
Singh 1996 {published data only}
  • Singh RB, Rastogi V, Singh R, Niaz MA, Srivastav S, Aslam M, et al. Magnesium and antioxidant vitamin status and risk of complications of ageing in an elderly urban population. Magnesium Research 1996;9(4):299-306. [PUBMED: 9247878]
Sos 2004 {published data only}
  • Sos C. Reduction of plasma lactate elevation and proteinuria by a complex dietary supplement in swimmers during over-loading training. Acta Physiologica Hungarica 2004;91(3-4):211-9. [PUBMED: 16438115]
Stamler 1997 {published data only}
  • Stamler J, Caggiula AW, Grandits GA. Relation of body mass and alcohol, nutrient, fiber, and caffeine intakes to blood pressure in the special intervention and usual care groups in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1997;65(1 Suppl):338S-65S. [PUBMED: 8988947]
Steyn 1986 {published data only}
  • Steyn K, Jooste PL, Fourie JM, Parry CD, Rossouw JE. Hypertension in the coloured population of the Cape Peninsula. South African Medical Journal 1986;69(3):165-9. [PUBMED: 3945870]
Ueshima 2004 {published data only}
  • Ueshima K, Tachibana H, Suzuki T, Hiramori K. Factors affecting the blood concentration of ionized magnesium in patients in the acute phase of myocardial infarction. Heart and Vessels 2004;19(6):267-70. [PUBMED: 15799172]
Wheeler 1983 {published data only}
Zygmunt 2003 {published data only}
  • Zygmunt M, Heilmann L, Berg C, Wallwiener D, Grischke E, Munstedt K, et al. Local and systemic tolerability of magnesium sulphate for tocolysis. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology 2003;107(2):168-75. [PUBMED: 12648863]

Additional references

  1. References to studies included in this review
  2. References to studies excluded from this review
  3. Additional references
Alonso 2004
  • ESEMeD/MHEDEA 2000 Investigators. Prevalence of mental disorders in Europe: results from the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Supplementum 2004;21(7):420.
Amato 2011
Beroz 1962
Cochrane Handbook
  • Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from
Cohen 1988
  • Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd Edition. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988.
Dissanaike 2006
Embry 1987
Flink 1954
  • Flink EB, Stutzman FL, Anderson AR, Konig T, Fraser R. Magnesium deficiency after prolonged parenteral fluid administration and after chronic alcoholism complicated by delirium tremens. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 1954;43(2):169-83.
Flink 1956
Foy 1995
Glickman 1962
  • Glickman LS, Schenker V, Grolnick S, Green A, Schenker A. Cerebrospinal fluid cation levels in delirium tremens with special reference to magnesium. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 1962;134:410-4. [PUBMED: 13899236]
Hasin 2007
  • Hasin DS, Stinson FS, Ogburn E, Grant BF. Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in the United States. Archives of General Psychiatry 2007;64:830-42.
Higgins 2003
Holsboer 2000
Jermain 1992
Martin 1959
  • Martin HE, McCuskey C, Tupikova N. Electrolyte disturbance in acute alcoholism with particular reference to magnesium. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1959;7:191-6.
Mayo-Smith 1997
Mayo-Smith 2004
  • Mayo-Smith MF, Beecher LH, Fischer TL, Gorelick DA, Guillaume JL, Hill A, et al. Management of alcohol withdrawal delirium: an evidence-based practice guideline. Archives of Internal Medicine 2004;164:1405-12.
Mays 1970
McKeon 2008
Mendelson 1959
Mendelson 1969
Murck 2002
Prior 2011
  • Prior PL, Galduroz JC. Glutamatergic hyperfunctioning during alcohol withdrawal syndrome: therapeutic perspective with zinc and magnesium.. Medical Hypotheses 2011 Sep;77(3):368-70.
Shane 1991
  • Shane SR, Flink EB. Magnesium deficiency in alcohol addiction and withdrawal. Magnesium and Trace Elements 1991-1992;10:263-68.
Shulsinger 1977
  • Shulsinger OZ, Forni PJ, Clyman BB. Magnesium sulfate in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal: a comparison with diazepam. Currents in alcoholism. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1977:319-27.
Sullivan 1989
Suter 1955
  • Suter C, Klingman WO. Neurologic manifestations of magnesium depletion states. Neurology 1955;4:691-9.
Victor 1973
Vincent 2007