Haloperidol for the management of delirium in adult intensive care unit patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Journal Article (Systematic Review;Journal Article)


Delirium commonly presents as a complication in critically ill patients. Our aim is to perform a meta-analysis investigating the role of haloperidol versus placebo in management (treatment and prophylaxis), of delirium in intensive care unit (ICU).

Materials and methods

Our study is a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing haloperidol versus placebo for treatment and/or prophylaxis of ICU-related delirium.


Six RCTs representing 2552 patients. There was no significant difference between haloperidol and placebo-treated patients in short-term all-cause mortality (risk ratio [RR] 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81-1.14; P = 0.67), incidence of delirium (RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.65-1.34; P = 0.70), ICU length of stay (Mean difference [MD] 0.00 days; 95% CI -0.82-0.83; P = 0.99), or delirium/coma-free days (MD 0.09; 95% CI -0.05-0.24; P = 0.21). Haloperidol was not associated with increased risk for serious adverse events (RR 0.65; 95% CI 0.23-1.88; P = 0.43), QTc prolongation (RR 0.87; 95% CI 0.63-1.19; P = 0.38), or extrapyramidal symptoms (RR 0.84; 95% CI 0.57-1.23; P = 0.37).


Among critically ill patients, haloperidol administration compared with placebo does not significantly affect short-term mortality, incidence of delirium, ICU length of stay, or delirium or coma-free days. Additionally, there was no increased risk of adverse events.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zayed, Y; Barbarawi, M; Kheiri, B; Banifadel, M; Haykal, T; Chahine, A; Rashdan, L; Aburahma, A; Bachuwa, G; Seedahmed, E

Published Date

  • April 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 /

Start / End Page

  • 280 - 286

PubMed ID

  • 30665181

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1557-8615

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0883-9441

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jcrc.2019.01.009


  • eng