Article

A Prospective, Open-Label, Flexible-Dose Study of Quetiapine in the Treatment of Delirium

Department of Psychiatry, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.14). 12/2003; 64(11):1316-21. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.v64n1106
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Delirium is an organic psychiatric syndrome characterized by fluctuating consciousness and impaired cognitive functioning. High-potency typical neuroleptics have traditionally been used as first-line drugs in the treatment of delirium. However, these drugs are frequently associated with undesirable adverse events including extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). The purpose of the present open-label, flexible-dose study was to provide preliminary data on the usefulness and safety of quetiapine for patients with delirium.
Twelve patients with DSM-IV delirium were treated with flexible doses of open-label quetiapine (mean +/- SD dosage = 44.9 +/- 31.0 mg/day). To evaluate the usefulness and safety of quetiapine, scores from the Delirium Rating Scale, Japanese version, were assessed every day (for 1 outpatient, at least twice per week), and scores from the Mini-Mental State Examination, Japanese version, and the Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Symptom Scale were assessed at baseline and after remission of delirium. Data were gathered from April to October 2001.
All patients achieved remission of delirium several days after starting quetiapine (mean +/- SD duration until remission = 4.8 +/- 3.5 days). Quetiapine treatment was well tolerated, and no clinically relevant change in EPS was detected.
Quetiapine may be a useful alternative to conventional neuroleptics in the treatment of delirium due to its rapid onset and relative lack of adverse events. Further double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are warranted.

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