Which medications in the drug class Benzodiazepines are used in the treatment of Delirium?

Updated: Apr 25, 2019
  • Author: Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, MHA; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Benzodiazepines

Reserved for delirium resulting from seizures or withdrawal from alcohol or sedative hypnotics. Coadministration with antipsychotics is considered only in patients who tolerate lower doses of either medication or have prominent anxiety or agitation. Benzodiazepines are preferred over neuroleptics for treatment of delirium resulting from alcohol or sedative hypnotic withdrawal. They also may be used when unknown substances may have been ingested and may be helpful in delirium from hallucinogen, cocaine, stimulant, or PCP toxicity. Use special precaution when using benzodiazepines because they may cause respiratory depression, especially in patients who are elderly, those with pulmonary problems, or debilitated patients.

Lorazepam (Ativan)

Preferable because it is short acting and has no active metabolites. In addition, can be used in both IM and IV forms. When patient needs to be sedated for longer than 24 h, this medication is excellent. Commonly used prophylactically to prevent delirium tremens.


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