Successful use of propofol in refractory delirium tremens

Ann Emerg Med. 1997 Dec;30(6):825-8. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(97)70059-3.


Alcohol withdrawal is a common problem encountered by emergency physicians, with delirium tremens (DT) as the extreme manifestation. DT is a true medical emergency. Although benzodiazepines are the mainstay of therapy, some patients require massive amounts to control their symptoms. We report the successful use of propofol for DT refractory to benzodiazepines in a 42-year-old alcoholic man. We briefly discuss alcohol withdrawal, as well as the pharmacokinetics and adverse affects of propofol. The use of propofol in treating DT refractory to benzodiazepines has previously not been reported.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium / drug therapy*
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacokinetics
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Propofol / pharmacokinetics
  • Propofol / therapeutic use*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Propofol