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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Aug;23(4):342-8.

Effectiveness of rapid initial dose escalation of up to forty milligrams per day of oral olanzapine in acute agitation.

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  • 1Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN 46285. robertbaker@Lilly.com



Patients experiencing an acute decompensation of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder often present in an agitated state. Agitation presents a barrier to therapy, interrupting the typical physician-patient alliance and creating a disruptive, even hazardous, environment. Rapid assessment and effective treatment are necessary to manage agitation and, potentially, to shorten the time to recovery.


One hundred forty-eight acutely agitated patients received either: rapid initial dose escalation (RIDE) in which up to 40 mg of oral olanzapine was allowed on days 1 and 2, up to 30 mg on days 3 and 4, and 5 to 20 mg thereafter; or usual clinical practice (UCP) in which patients received 10 mg/d olanzapine plus up to 4 mg lorazepam on days 1 and 2, up to 2 mg on days 3 and 4, and olanzapine 5 to 20 mg/d thereafter. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale-Excited Component (PANSS-EC: poor impulse control, tension, hostility, uncooperativeness, and excitement) measured at 24 hours was the primary measure. Secondary assessments of agitation and safety were also performed.


Agitation improved significantly from baseline for both treatment groups; however, improvement with the RIDE strategy was superior to UCP. The RIDE group improvement was superior on the primary efficacy measure (PANSS-Excited) at 24 hours; it was superior on all agitation measures at the end of double-blind treatment. Both treatments were well tolerated, with no clinically significant differences in safety measures. Treatment was not limited by oversedation and attention improved from baseline in both groups.


This study demonstrates the value of olanzapine in the treatment of acutely agitated patients. A new approach to olanzapine dosing that expands the initial dose range up to 40 mg/d may offer superior efficacy in rapidly and effectively controlling the symptoms of agitation.

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[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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