The pharmacological management of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome associated with alcohol dependence is heterogeneous; however, according to the guidelines, clomethiazol is the standard medication in Germany. Benzodiazepines offer another safe possibility of treating alcohol withdrawal. In a retrospective study, alcohol-dependent patients treated either with oxazepam (n = 141) or clomethiazol (n = 357) were assessed with respect to the course of treatment and withdrawal symptoms. The results showed that under oxazepam treatment, there were fewer days with severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and less severe adverse events, but patients receiving clomethiazol treatment had a more severe course of alcohol dependence. Oxazepam is a safe, efficient and cheap drug for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but controlled studies are needed to compare its effectiveness with that of clomethiazol.

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