Review decision date: April 2016

Review decision: 

We carried out an exceptional surveillance review of this guideline and decided that it should be updated at this time. For details, see the update decision, decision matrix and the process for deciding if an update is needed. Details of the update will be available on the guidelines in development webpage in due course. This guideline will be checked again for update at its scheduled time point according to the methods described here

Next review date: 2019

The advice in the NICE guideline covers:

The care of adults and young people (aged 10 years and older) who have any of the following physical health problems that are completely or partly caused by alcohol use:

  • acute alcohol withdrawal (which occurs if a ‘dependent’ drinker suddenly stops drinking)
  • lack of thiamine (also called vitamin B1) in the body, which can cause a condition called Wernicke’s encephalopathy
  • liver disease
  • inflammation of the pancreas (called pancreatitis).

It does not specifically look at the care of:

  • women who are pregnant
  • children younger than 10 years
  • people with physical or mental health conditions caused by alcohol use other than those listed above.

This guideline was previously called alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and clinical management of alcohol-related physical complications.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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