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Haloperidol vs Olanzapine for the Management of ICU Delirium

Information source: Nova Scotia Health Authority
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Delirium; Agitation

Intervention: Haloperidol (Drug); Olanzapine (Drug)

Phase: N/A

Status: Terminated

Sponsored by: Richard Hall

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Richard Hall, MD, FRCPC, FCCP, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Nova Scotia Health Authority


The purpose of this randomized clinical trial is to determine whether haloperidol is superior to olanzapine for the treatment of ICU acquired delirium. The hypothesis is that haloperidol is in fact superior to olanzapine in treating ICU acquired delirium and sustaining delirium free time.

Clinical Details

Official title: Haloperidol vs Olanzapine for the Management of ICU Delirium: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Subject), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Resolution of delirium as indicated by an Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist score of less than 4

Secondary outcome:

Delirium free days (i.e. time from resolution of delirium to ICU discharge)

Incidence of treatment failure at 48 hours

Requirement for rescue medication

Type of rescue medication


If on mechanical ventilation at time delirium develops, duration of mechanical ventilation

Detailed description: Delirium is defined as a disturbance of consciousness characterized by an acute onset of impaired cognitive function. Although delirium is thought to be common in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) there are few studies that have evaluated its incidences, risks and outcomes. It has been associated with increased morbidity, and mortality and increased cost to the healthcare system. In addition to the uncertainty of the incidence of ICU delirium, there is a lack of information about the effects that certain pharmacological treatments have on delirious patients. The standard pharmacological treatments for ICU acquired delirium are haloperidol and olanzapine as they have been shown to be equivalent in reducing its incidence. However, optimal dose and regimen have not been well defined. The rationale for this study is to determine whether haloperidol is superior to olanzapine in the treatment of ICU acquired delirium. A secondary objective is to determine the most appropriate dosing regimen for the treatmet. The role of alternative agents quetiapine, risperidone, loxapine and methotrimeprazine will also be examined in a preliminary analysis. Patients who develop agitation or delirium as defined by an Intensive Care Delirium Checklist (ICDSC) score of greater than or equal to 4 meeting all the inclusion criteria and no exclusion criteria will be eligible for randomization. Once randomized they will be screened for ongoing agitation and delirium as well prolongation of the QTc interval greater than 440 msec, development of extrapyramidal symptoms and development of a seizure disorder.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- All patients who are 18 years or older who are admitted for more than 24 hours to the


- Patients screened for delirium using the ICDSC with a score greater than or equal to

4 or with clinical manifestations of delirium. Exclusion Criteria:

- Patients unlikely to survive 24 hours.

- Patients with a primary neurologic reason (i. e. stroke, dementia-related psychosis)

for ICU admission.

- Patients with QTc interval greater than 440 msec.

- Pregnant patients.

- Patients who are breast feeding.

- Patients in whom haloperidol, or olanzapine is contraindicated.

- Patients allergic to haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, loxapine or


- Patients who do not have a urinary catheter.

- Patients who have received haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, loxapine

or methotrimeprazine within 14 days.

- Patients unable to undergo assessment (i. e. patients with developmental disability or

mental incapacity prior to ICU admission).

- Prolonged (greather than 24 hours) comatose patients who have a defined structural

reason for their decreased level of consciousness.

Locations and Contacts

Halifax Infirmary; Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Victoria General Hospital; Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Additional Information

Related publications:

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Starting date: June 2008
Last updated: August 2, 2012

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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