Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



The wide use of alcohol and its consequent problems in our society have contributed to an estimated 1.2 million hospital admissions, 85,000 deaths, and a cost above $250 billion to our health care system every year. Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam have long been the preferred choice of treatment for alcohol withdrawal symptoms (AWS) in the hospital setting. However, alternative treatments like phenobarbital could possibly improve outcomes in terms of efficacy and safety. A systematic review was conducted to compare and synthesize the current evidence as it relates to the effectiveness of phenobarbital and lorazepam in decreasing AWS and total hospital length of stay. Results showed no significant advantage or disadvantage using either medication independently or in combination on decreasing AWS symptoms or length of stay but more research is needed. Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners (APRNs) contribute to high quality evidence-based research where additional information can examine and propose changes to practice guidelines.

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