Study reveals the antipsychotics may actually prolong delirium

New study reveals surprising results about the treatment of delirium.

People who have been prescribed antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol and risperidone may be at risk of dying, says a new study into the effects of medicines used to treat delirium.

Patients administered antipsychotic drugs showed more signs of distressing behaviour and delirium symptoms of delirium than those who received placebos. 

According to the study's authors: "Antipsychotic drugs are not useful to reduce symptoms of delirium associated with distress in patients receiving palliative care. Delirium for many people is preventable or at least treatable, yet these medicines are being widely used and that use is mostly inappropriate."

The study also revealed that early identification of delirium, coupled with the treatment of underlying causes did more to reduce patient's distress than antipsychotic medication.

Simple things, such as ensuring that patients wore their spectacles and hearing aids, and that they were hydrated and well fed, did much to prevent or treat delirium.



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