Pharmacologic Management of Delirium in the ICU: A Review of the Literature

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Purpose:Conflicting data exists on the pharmacologic management of intensive care unit (ICU) delirium. This review appraises the current evidence of pharmacologic management of ICU delirium.Materials and Methods:A systematic literature search of MEDLINE and Embase was conducted to answer the population, intervention, comparison, and outcome (PICO) question of: “Does the use of a pharmacologic agent compared to standard of care or placebo improve ICU delirium in a critically ill patient population?”Results:After application of the PICO question and the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 13 articles were included. Of these articles, 7 were prospective randomized controlled trials, 1 was a prospective nonrandomized controlled trial, and 5 were retrospective investigations. The included articles differed in the agents evaluated, primary outcome, and method of identifying delirium.Conclusion:The variability of outcomes illustrates the need for a large-scale investigation to further evaluate the role of pharmacologic management of ICU delirium.

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