Delirium refers to a serious disturbance in mental abilities that result in confused thinking and reduced awareness of one's environment. A recent review of the medical literature does not support the use of antipsychotic medications for preventing or treating delirium in hospitalized patients.
Investigators analyzed 19 relevant studies. In seven studies comparing antipsychotics with placebo or no treatment for delirium prevention in postoperative patients, there was no significant effect on delirium incidence.
Using data reported from all 19 studies including medical and surgical patient populations, antipsychotic use was not associated with change in delirium duration, severity, hospital length of stay, or mortality. There was considerable variability in design and outcome measures among studies, however.