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Heart Lung. 1988 May;17(3):238-41.

Controlled study of extrapyramidal reactions in the management of delirious, medically ill patients: intravenous haloperidol versus intravenous haloperidol plus benzodiazepines.

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  • 1Psychiatric Consultation Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.


In a prospective study, the intensity of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) was rated in two groups of delirious, medically ill patients. Fourteen patients received intravenous (IV) haloperidol and benzodiazepines for control of severe agitation and four received IV haloperidol alone. Patients were rated daily by a standardized scale for EPS by raters blind to the dose of haloperidol and benzodiazepines. Patients receiving haloperidol and benzodiazepines had significantly (p less than 0.001) less EPS than patients receiving IV haloperidol alone. In the haloperidol and benzodiazepine group there were only one case of very mild parkinsonian-like EPS and no cases of akathisia or dystonia. No adverse respiratory or cardiac reactions were seen in any patients. The literature on the use of IV haloperidol alone and in combination with benzodiazepines is briefly reviewed and possible explanations of the lower intensity of EPS with IV haloperidol in combination with benzodiazepines are discussed.

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