(HealthDay News) – In critically ill patients requiring ventilation, haloperidol treatment does not affect the amount of time alive without delirium or coma compared with placebo, according to a study published online Aug. 21 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Valerie J. Page, MBBCh, from Watford General Hospital in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomly assigned 142 critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation in a general adult intensive care unit to placebo (saline) or haloperidol (2.5mg) every eight hours for a maximum of 14 days.

The researchers found that, compared with the placebo group, the haloperidol group was similar in terms of the number of days alive, delirium-free, and coma-free (five vs. six days). The two groups also had similar length of critical care stay, length of hospital stay, mortality rates at 28 days, and number of ventilator-free days at 28 days. The most common adverse events were over-sedation (11 patients in the haloperidol group vs. six in the placebo group) and QTc prolongation (seven patients in the haloperidol group vs. six in the placebo group).

“These results do not support the hypothesis that haloperidol modifies duration of delirium in critically ill patients,” Page and colleagues conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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