News items Haloperidol voorkomt geen delirium op de IC
21 February 2018

Prophylactic use of the drug haloperidol does not help to prevent delirium in intensive care patients or improve their chances of survival. Therefore, there is no reason anymore to administer the drug as a preventive measure to reduce the burden of delirium. This was revealed following a three-year, large-scale study among 1,800 patients in 20 Dutch ICUs, headed by Radboud university medical center. The results of this world’s largest research project into delirium prevention in the ICU have been published on February 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Acute confusion, or delirium, occurs in approximately one third to half of all patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), and hasserious short-term and long-term consequences. Patients who develop delirium need mechanical ventilation for a longer time and their stay in the ICU and in the hospital is also longer. Also, patients with delirium are more likely to die compared to patients without delirium. If a patient develops delirium, the drug haloperidol is often used to treat it.
 
Large-scale research
There were indications that haloperidol could be effective not only to treat, but also to prevent delirium. A large-scale trial, headed by Mark van den Boogaard from the Radboud university medical center, was conducted in 20 Dutch ICUs to investigate if prophylactic use of haloperidol could reduce delirium and its consequences. A total of 1,800 ICU patients with a high risk of delirium were included in this trial and received a low dose of haloperidol, or a placebo. This trial, funded by ZonMw (the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development), is worldwide the largest trial in this field.
 
Mortality
As mortality rates among patients with delirium are higher, the researchers tried to find out whether using prophylactic haloperidol would reduce the mortality and delirium and its sequelae.
 
No difference
The conclusions of this trial were crystal clear: prophylactic therapy with haloperidol did not affect any of the endpoints being studied. Principal investigator Mark van den Boogaard: “This large-scale study shows indisputably that use of prophylactic haloperidol in ICU patients has no beneficial effects whatsoever. These findings will lead to fewer unnecessary drugs being prescribed to ICU patients.”
 
Head of the research, Professor Peter Pickkers: “The scope of the study and the fact that the results are so unambiguous make the message from our research abundantly clear: there is absolutely no point in administering haloperidol to ICU patients as a preventive measure.”

This research is conducted within the theme Healthcare improvement science.

More information


Marcel Wortel

information officer

(024) 81 87389

Related news items


European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC) Guidelines

13 August 2019

In Annals of internal medicine Mireille Broeders and colleagues from the ECIBC Guidelines Development Group described the methods used to develop person-centered evidence-based recommendations for screening and diagnosis of breast cancer.

read more

Circulation publication for exercise physiologists

13 August 2019

Thijs Eijsvogels and Vincent Aengevaeren showed that exercise-incuded elevations of troponin concentrations are predictive of major adverse cardiovascular events and mortality.

read more

DELA, Radboudumc and Games for Health start a new project to fight loneliness among elderly using games

12 August 2019

More than half of people aged 75 and over feel their selves lonely every now and then. A special collaboration between DELA, Radboudumc, and Games for Health will investigate whether joined gaming between elderly and young people can alleviate this social problem.

read more

Floris Schreuder received Dekker grant

6 August 2019

Floris Schreuder received one of the ten Dekker grants from the Dutch Heart Foundation (Hartstichting).

read more

A warm welcome for a new RIMLS colleague Nico Sommerdijk

5 August 2019

As of 1 August we welcome Nico Sommerdijk as our new colleague at the RIMLS. Nico will join the department of Biochemistry, with his research group “Biochemistry of Mineralized Tissues”.

read more

Bart Kiemeney finishes 1st in the Tour and raises thousands of euros

30 July 2019

With over €43,000 on the counter, Kiemeney can see the Tour de France as a great success.

read more