Managing the Agitated Psychotic Patient: A Reappraisal of the Evidence
J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(suppl 14):11-20
© Copyright 2016 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Under intense public pressure, regulatory agencies have recently defined circumstances in which
medications will be considered a form of restraint, so-called "chemical restraint." This article proposes
that the emergency management of the agitated patient be viewed as a brief departure from the
usual physician-patient collaboration. Viewed in this way, the goal is simply to terminate the emergency
in the manner most likely to be acceptable to patients and conducive to a more typical dialogue.
To that end, the author reviews all controlled studies of medication treatment of agitation that have
appeared in English since the advent of the neuroleptic medications. Issues of diagnosis, relative efficacy,
dosage, route, onset, offset, safety, tolerability, and consumer preference are considered.