What is the role of magnesium in the treat of delirium tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Persons with alcoholism frequently have large total body deficits of magnesium. Symptoms and signs of magnesium deficiency include hyperactive reflexes, weakness, tremor, refractory hypokalemia, reversible hypoparathyroidism with hypocalcemia, and cardiac dysrhythmias. Serum magnesium levels are often normal in spite of a total body magnesium deficit with significant intracellular magnesium deficiency. Magnesium levels that are initially low may return to normal even though a total body deficiency persists. In animal studies, magnesium deficiency has exacerbated hepatic damage caused by alcohol.

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