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The decision to initiate pharmacotherapy for alcohol withdrawal is typically based on examining self-reported use of alcohol and symptoms of withdrawal. Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a biomarker that could aim in clinical decision-making in withdrawal management. This report describes three cases highlighting the potential clinical utility of PEth in caring for individuals at risk for alcohol withdrawal. Two of the cases received phenobarbital when their PEth showed that the risk of withdrawal was low and one case where PEth could have shown this was needed. The results were only available in a delayed fashion, however, could have been useful in informing clinical care. PEth can be a useful tool if available without delay. PEth can be used to quickly rule out alcohol withdrawal and avoid misdiagnoses and prolonged hospital stays. This is a clinical case study available looking at PEth and withdrawal in hospitalized patients. It proposes that PEth can be used as a way to quickly rule out alcohol withdrawal to avoid misdiagnoses and the possibility of a prolonged hospital stay. © 2024 The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP).


Amber N Edinoff, David B Hathaway, David Martinez Garza, Jordan H Rosen, Joji Suzuki. The possible clinical utility of the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol for managing suspected alcohol withdrawal in hospitalized patients: A case report. The American journal on addictions. 2024 May;33(3):351-353

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PMID: 38319035

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