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Ann Pharmacother. 1995 Jul-Aug;29(7-8):690-3.

Use of haloperidol infusions to control delirium in critically ill adults.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesia, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20037, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe and discuss the use of continuous intravenous infusions of haloperidol to treat severe delirium and agitation in 3 intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

CASE SUMMARIES:

Three severely agitated patients in ICU did not respond to conventional therapy with opiates, benzodiazepines, and intermittent intravenous doses of haloperidol. In each case, control was achieved rapidly after initiation and titration of a continuous haloperidol infusion. Two patients had a history of schizophrenia. No adverse effects attributable to therapy were identified.

DISCUSSION:

Haloperidol is often used in the ICU for control of severe agitation, even in patients without a psychiatric history. It usually is given by bolus intravenous injection, sometimes in high doses (> 5 mg), even though that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Intravenous haloperidol is generally well tolerated, but multiform ventricular tachycardia has been reported. Experience with continuous haloperidol infusions is growing, and it appears to be an effective method for control of severe agitation or delirium. In our experience and in other limited published data, adverse effects are rare, but prolongation of the QT interval has occurred and multiform ventricular tachycardia is likely a risk.

CONCLUSIONS:

In selected patients, a continuous infusion of haloperidol may be a useful alternative for control of agitation and delirium. Close monitoring for QT prolongation or rhythm disturbances is mandatory.

PMID:
8520081
DOI:
10.1177/106002809502907-806
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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