Hospitals Have Given Antipsychotics To Delirious Patients For Decades, But New Study Finds Few Benefits
The drugs can have serious side effects, and there has been little research to determine whether they were actually effective. A new study calls into question their widespread use in hospitals. As many as one in four hospital patients become delirious, with the risk increasing for older patients and those who have had surgery.
The Wall Street Journal:
No Benefit Seen From Antipsychotics Used In Delirious Hospital Patients
New research found no benefit from two antipsychotic drugs used by hospitals to treat delirium in critically ill patients, the latest study to call into question a common but unproven medical practice. Delirious intensive-care patients who were treated with the drugs haloperidol and ziprasidone didn’t emerge from their confusion any sooner than those given a placebo, according to the study published online Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Evans, 10/22)
Haloperidol And Other Antipsychotics No Better Than Placebo For ICU Delirium, Study Finds
"In some surveys up to 70 percent of patients [in the ICU] get these antipsychotics," says Dr. E. Wesley "Wes" Ely, an intensive care specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They're prescribed by "very good doctors at extremely good medical centers," he says. "Millions of people worldwide are getting these drugs to treat their delirium. "But the drugs can have serious side effects. And Ely says there is no solid research showing that they are effective at treating delirium. (Harris, 10/22)