Rapid Tranquilization of Severely Agitated Patients With Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Sebastian Walther, Franz Moggi, Helge Horn, Konstantin Moskvitin, Christoph Abderhalden, Nadja Maier, Werner Strik, Thomas J. Müller
2014 Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology  
Agitation is a major problem in acute schizophrenia. Only a few studies have tested antipsychotic agents in severely agitated patients, mainly because of legal issues. Furthermore, most studies were limited to the first 24 hours. We aimed to investigate the efficacy of oral haloperidol, risperidone, and olanzapine in reducing psychotic agitation in severely agitated patients with schizophrenia or schizophreniform or schizoaffective disorder over 96 hours using a prospective, randomized,
more » ... inded, controlled design within a naturalistic treatment regimen. Methods: In total, 43 severely agitated patients at acute care psychiatric units were enrolled. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either daily haloperidol 15 mg, olanzapine 20 mg, or risperidone 2 to 6 mg over 5 days. Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale psychotic agitation subscale score was the primary outcome variable. A mixed-model analysis was applied. Results: All drugs were effective for rapid tranquilization within 2 hours. Over 5 days, the course differed between agents (P G 0.001), but none was superior. Dropouts occurred only in the risperidone and olanzapine groups. Men responded better to treatment than did women during the initial 2 hours (P = 0.046) as well as over the 5-day course (P G 0.001). No difference between drug groups was observed regarding diazepam or biperiden use. Conclusions: Oral haloperidol, risperidone, and olanzapine seem to be suitable for treating acute severe psychotic agitation in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Response to oral antipsychotics demonstrated a gender effect with poorer outcome in women throughout the study.
doi:10.1097/jcp.0000000000000050 pmid:24346752 fatcat:reg747nwxnfl5bvgnrsddwxopu