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Antipsychotic Drugs Accelerate Patient Sedation in ERs

Combination is safe, fast, and inexpensive (Oct. 9)

In an Australian study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, researchers found that when the antipsychotic drug droperidol or olanzapine was used in combination with midazolam, adequate sedation of severely agitated emergency patients was achieved more quickly, and the patients were less likely to require re-sedation.

The study was announced on October 9 by Monash University in Victoria, Australia.

The researchers found that droperidol or olanzapine, in combination with midazolam, shortened the time to sedation by an average of 4 to 5 minutes.

The study involved 336 adult patients with acute agitation requiring intravenous sedation in three Australian emergency departments (EDs).

“Our findings provide important evidence about how patients with acute agitation in EDs could be optimally managed by clinicians utilizing a combination of medications,” said investigator Dr. David Kong. “More effective management of acute agitation could significantly reduce stress and maximize the safety of both the patients and health professionals in clinical settings.”

Co-investigator Prof. David Taylor added: “This drug combination is safe, fast, and inexpensive, and we found no negative effects. The findings underscore the need for rapid and lasting sedating regimens in the ED and are good news for emergency physicians who deal with agitation and aggression among their patients on a daily basis.”

For more information, visit the Monash University Web site.

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