Get access

A Randomized, Open-Label, Controlled Trial of Gabapentin and Phenobarbital in the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal


Address correspondence to Dr. Mariani, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry, Division on Substance Abuse, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 66, New York, NY 10032. E-mail:


Gabapentin was compared with phenobarbital for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal in a randomized, open-label, controlled trial in 27 inpatients. There were no significant differences in the proportion of treatment completers between treatment groups or the proportion of patients in each group requiring rescue medication for breakthrough signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. There were no significant treatment differences in withdrawal symptoms or psychological distress, nor were there serious adverse events. These findings suggest that gabapentin may be as effective as phenobarbital in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. Given gabapentin's favorable pharmacokinetic profile, further study of its effectiveness in treating alcohol withdrawal is warranted.