Phenobarbital Taper in Acute Alcohol Withdrawal: Evaluation of a New Protocol


The trauma population served by Essentia Health has high rates of alcohol abuse and dependence, and are at risk for Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) when they are admitted to the hospital and abruptly stop using alcohol.  AWS can lead to increased ICU stays and poor outcomes, and may be life threatening. The purpose of this observational study is to evaluate the efficacy of a newly implemented protocol for AWS at Essentia Health based on the use of phenobarbital rather than benzodiazepine. A review of all trauma patients admitted with risk factors for alcohol withdrawal will be performed, and outcomes will be compared to a historical control group of trauma patients with AWS treated with the benzidine-based protocol. Better clarifying how this new AWS protocol compares to previous protocols will benefit all Essentia Health patients by helping providers identify patients that are at increased risk for AWS, or who may be better served by a different protocol, in order to prevent AWS from occurring.    

Dr. Kristin Colling is the Principle Investigator. Melissa Harry, PhD, Dr. Mark Scott, and Courtney Knebel, PharmD, are the Co-Investigators. 

Principal Investigator(s)
Dr. Kristin Colling, MD

Research Study Categories

  • Adult Studies


  • Trauma
  • Substance Abuse
Trauma Research Team at

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