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Original article

Vol. 147 No. 2930 (2017)

Pipamperone and delirium: a preliminary evaluation of its effectiveness in the management of delirium and its subtypes

Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2017;147:w14471



Delirium has been recognised as an underdiagnosed and undermanaged syndrome with substantial prevalence rates and potentially deleterious consequences in the medically ill population. Despite its frequent administration in the management of delirium, the effectiveness of pipamperone has not yet been evaluated.


In this retrospective, descriptive cohort study of 192 patients, pipamperone as monotherapy and as an adjunct to haloperidol, haloperidol alone, or atypical antipsychotics were compared with respect to their effectiveness in the management of delirium and its subtypes over the course of 20 days.


In this elderly patient population, pipamperone alone and as an adjunct to haloperidol was as effective as haloperidol or atypical antipsychotics in the management of delirium. Management with low-dose pipamperone monotherapy achieved delirium resolution in 70% of patients, over a mean of 6.4 (2–20) days. With pipamperone as an adjunct to haloperidol, delirium resolved in 59% of patients, over a mean of 7.4 (2–20) days. When haloperidol or atypical antipsychotics (risperidone, olanzapine or quetiapine) were used, the delirium resolution rates were 72 and 67%, over a mean of 5.2 (2–11) and 6.4 (2–20) days, respectively. The addition of pipamperone to haloperidol decreased the requirement for lorazepam. Pipamperone proved to be equally effective in all delirium subtypes – hypoactive, hyperactive and mixed. Nonetheless, potential bias could not be excluded in this observational design.


From these initial results, low-dose pipamperone was as effective as haloperidol or atypical antipsychotics in the management of delirium and its subtypes, and was benzodiazepine-sparing when used as an adjunct to haloperidol.


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