What is the role of neuroleptic drugs in the treatment of delirium tremens (DTs)?

Updated: Nov 06, 2020
  • Author: Michael James Burns, MD, FACEP, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

The use of neuroleptic drugs (phenothiazines, butyrophenones) alone to treat agitation or hallucinations caused by alcohol withdrawal potentially can cause problems, because these drugs are not effective in preventing or treating DTs and may increase the risk of seizures. The administration of a small dose of a butyrophenone, such as haloperidol, may be useful as adjunctive therapy to treat agitation and hallucinations, as long as adequate doses of benzodiazepines have been administered.


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