Treatment of acute agitation in psychotic disorders.

: Several psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, may be associated with symptoms of acute agitation and aggression. While drug treatment of agitation is often essential, non-pharmacological interventions, both environmental and behavioral, also play important roles in the complex management of agitated patients. The most extensively used psychotropic drugs are parenteral formulas of conventional antipsychotics and benzodiazepines. Recently, injection forms of two second generation antipsychotics, olanzapine and ziprasidone, have become available. Both drugs have shown adequate efficacy and tolerability in several double-blind trials of intramuscular administration in acutely agitated psychotic patients. Compared to conventional medication, injection forms of the new antipsychotics may have a faster onset of action and more favorable profile of adverse events. Alternative approaches to injection administration include liquid drug formula, orally disintegrating tablets and wafers, treatment initiation with high doses, or rapid dose escalation. Evidence suggests that second-generation antipsychotics should be among the first-line choices in the treatment of agitation in acute psychosis.

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