Treating delirium with antipsychotics

Meera Agar, MBBS, MPC, FRACP, PhD of University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia discusses delirium treatment options. The guidelines internationally recommend that delirium symptoms are treated in a targeted way, but there has never been a clinical trial to establish the best approach. Prof Agar in collaboration with the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC) undertook a clinical trial to explore the use of antipsychotic drugs: risperidone and haloperidol. The goal of the study was to improve targeted delirium symptoms in palliative care patients. There were three study arms: risperidone, haloperidol, and a placebo solution. Delirium symptoms improved better in the control group, which means lack of evidence supporting antipsychotics as a way to improve delirium outcomes. Non-pharmacological interventions could be used to prevent delirium, but these interventions are much harder to put in place as a part of a health system. Recorded at the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) and International Society of Ocular Oncology (ISOO) 2016 Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer held in Adelaide, Australia.
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