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Indian J Psychiatry. 2017 Oct-Dec;59(4):451-456. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_59_17.

Comparison of efficacy of haloperidol and olanzapine in the treatment of delirium.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India.
2
Department of General Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India.

Abstract

Objective:

Till date, typical antipsychotic haloperidol is the treatment of choice for delirium. But, due to higher side effects with haloperidol, newer atypical antipsychotics (e.g., olanzapine) are increasingly being used in the treatment of delirious patients. The aim of the current research was to study the efficacy and tolerability of haloperidol and olanzapine in the treatment of delirium.

Materials and Methods:

This was an open-label, randomized controlled study carried out in a tertiary care hospital at Chandigarh, India. A total of 100 patients admitted in medicine, surgery, and orthopedic wards and diagnosed as having delirium on Confusion Assessment Method scale were included in the study. Patients were given either haloperidol (1-4 mg/day either orally or by nasogastric tube) or olanzapine (2.5-10 mg/day either orally or by nasogastric tube). Severity of delirium and pattern of symptom improvement were assessed by Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS). Extrapyramidal side effects were assessed by Simpson-Angus Scale.

Results:

There was an improvement in delirium severity in both groups with treatment. Mean daily dose of haloperidol and olanzapine used per patient was 2.10 and 5.49 mg, respectively, and the mean duration of treatment in olanzapine group and haloperidol group was 3.57 days and 3.37 days, respectively. There was no significant difference in the mean duration of treatment in both groups. At the end of study period, the MDAS scores in olanzapine and haloperidol groups were 8.43 and 8.00, respectively, and the difference was not significant statistically with P = 0.765. Five patients experienced drug-related mild side effects.

Conclusion:

Low-dose haloperidol and olanzapine were equally efficacious and well tolerated in delirium.

KEYWORDS:

Delirium; efficacy; haloperidol; olanzapine; tolerability

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