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J Clin Psychiatry. 1992 Feb;53(2):47-52.

Adjunctive treatment of manic agitation with lorazepam versus haloperidol: a double-blind study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington 05405.



While lithium is effective in treating the majority of bipolar patients during a manic episode, the addition of neuroleptic during the early phase of treatment has been common clinical practice in inpatient settings. In an earlier open study, we demonstrated the utility of the short-acting benzodiazepine lorazepam as an adjunct to lithium for the clinical management of manic agitation.


We now present data from a randomized, double-blind clinical study of lorazepam versus haloperidol in 20 hospitalized patients with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of bipolar disorder who were being treated concomitantly with lithium. Patients were rated using the Mania Rating Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Physician Global Impression Scale, and side effects scales. Data were analyzed using standard group comparisons and survival analysis.


There was no evidence for a significant difference between the two treatment groups in the magnitude of or time to response (5.0 +/- .82 days for haloperidol; 6.5 +/- .93 days for lorazepam). Of the patients who were terminated from the protocol early, nonresponse was the primary reason in the lorazepam group while side effects were the reason in the haloperidol group.


Lorazepam may offer an efficacious and safe alternative to haloperidol as an adjunctive treatment to lithium in the clinical management of the early phase of manic agitation in a subgroup of bipolar patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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