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Droperidol for Agitation in Acute Care: Clinical Effectiveness

Last updated: January 15, 2021
Project Number: RC1331-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of droperidol for the management of violence and aggression in acute care settings?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding the use of droperidol in acute care settings?

Key Message

Comparative evidence supports that droperidol is as effective as haloperidol and olanzapine for the sedation of adult patients with uncontrolled aggression, anxiety, or violent behaviour in acute care settings, and a limited quantity of evidence supports the superiority of droperidol over ziprasidone and lorazepam monotherapies. There are no statistically significant differences in adverse event frequency or severity in adult patients treated with droperidol compared with haloperidol or olanzapine. Guidelines published in 2015 support the safety and efficacy of droperidol treatment for agitation based on high-quality relevant evidence. These guidelines found insufficient evidence to support electrocardiogram or telemetry monitoring of patients who were administered less than 2.5 mg of droperidol.