DiscoverThe Curbsiders Internal Medicine Podcast#212 Sober Talk: Managing Inpatient Alcohol Withdrawal with Joji Suzuki, MD
#212 Sober Talk: Managing  Inpatient Alcohol Withdrawal with Joji Suzuki, MD

#212 Sober Talk: Managing Inpatient Alcohol Withdrawal with Joji Suzuki, MD

Update: 2020-05-07



Crush those 11 pm “STAT: Patient agitated” pages with this expert guide to assessing for and treating alcohol withdrawal!  Dr. Joji Suzuki MD, addiction psychiatrist extraordinaire at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, walks us through how to think about the risk of severe withdrawal, the different ways to manage it, and how to engage with patients as they’re leaving the hospital. In the course of this Car-Talk (well, not exactly the same as the critically acclaimed radio show, but he did record in his car….), Dr. Suzuki demystifies withdrawal and debunks some common myths: that we must manage withdrawal inpatient, that banana bags are the cure to a hangover and alcoholic malnutrition, and that we tend to under-medicate with benzos (actually, it’s the opposite!).  


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  • Written and Produced by Nora Taranto MD 
  • Infographic and Cover Art by: Nora Taranto MD
  • Hosts: Matthew Watto MD, FACP; Paul Williams MD, FACP   
  • Editor: Cyrus Askin MD, Matthew Watto MD (written materials); Clair Morgan of
  • Guest: Joji Suzuki MD 



Join in! We’re hosting a LIVE! COVID Cakes discussion of Remdesivir and other hot COVID-19 stories this coming Tuesday May 12, 2020 at 8:30 pm ET @thecurbsiders on Twitter and Periscope!



We are excited to announce that the Curbsiders are now partnering with VCU Health Continuing Education to offer continuing education credits for physicians and other healthcare professionals. Check out for more information.


Time Stamps

  • 00:00 Intro, disclaimer, guest bio
  • 02:52 Guest one-liner; Career advice; Picks of the Week*: Why We Do What We Do (book); Fargo (film)
  • 08:10 A Case from Kashlak and Screening for Alcohol Use and Severe Withdrawal Risk
  • 17:32 Outpatient Versus Inpatient Treatment
  • 25:27 Gabapentin for alcohol withdrawal
  • 27:10 Indicators for ICU level Care
  • 31:53 Symptom-Driven versus Fixed-Dose Protocols , Benzos vs. Barbs
  • 36:55 And which benzo?  
  • 39:47 A Natural History of Withdrawal
  • 44:10 Banana Bags and Thiamine Deficiency
  • 48:17 The Transition Home: Naltrexone, Bridge Clinics, and Motivational Interviewing
  • 56:36 Outro and Bonus clip


*The Curbsiders participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising commissions by linking to Amazon. Simply put, if you click on our links and buy something we earn a (very) small commission, yet you don’t pay any extra.



Listeners will be able to screen patients for risk of alcohol withdrawal and decide on management strategies that are individualized to the patient. 


Learning objectives

After listening to this episode listeners will…

  1. Screen and identify for patients at high risk of withdrawal 
  2. Identify who would benefit from inpatient withdrawal, and ICU vs floor level care  
  3. Identify the best withdrawal management protocol 
  4. List indications and contraindications of first line therapy for alcohol use disorder.



Dr Suzuki reports no relevant financial disclosures. The Curbsiders report no relevant financial disclosures. 



Suzuki J, Taranto NT, Williams PN, Askin C, Watto MF. “#212 Sober Talk: Managing Alcohol Withdrawal with Joji Suzuki, MD”. The Curbsiders Internal Medicine Podcast. May 7, 2020.

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#212 Sober Talk: Managing  Inpatient Alcohol Withdrawal with Joji Suzuki, MD

#212 Sober Talk: Managing Inpatient Alcohol Withdrawal with Joji Suzuki, MD