From the Editor

Is there a role for haloperidol in the treatment of delirium in ICU settings? That may seem like an unusual question since many patients receive this medication, perhaps half. But evidence is light.

In the first selection, Dr. Nina C. Andersen-Ranberg (of the University of Southern Denmark) and her co-authors consider ICU delirium with a new RCT, published in The New England Journal of Medicine. In this elegant study, half of the patients were randomized to receive haloperidol (in the IV form) and the other half received a placebo. They find: “Among patients in the ICU with delirium, treatment with haloperidol did not lead to a significantly greater number of days alive and out of the hospital at 90 days than placebo.” We consider the paper.

In the second selection, Dr. Scott B. Patten (of the University of Calgary) and his co-authors analyze hospital admissions and psychiatric diagnoses before and after the start of the pandemic. In this Canadian Journal of Psychiatry paper, they draw on Alberta data. Noting an existing literature on eating disorders, they also find an increase in patients with personality disorders being admitted. “[T]he increase was more pronounced than the widely reported increase in admissions for eating disorders.”

And, in the third selection, Dr. Richard M. Boulay (of St. Luke’s University Health Network) weighs in on physician mental health. In this highly personal New England Journal of Medicine paper, the gynecologic oncologist describes the problems of a second-year surgery resident who almost dies by suicide. He feels that she was failed by her program and medical culture itself. He writes: “[S]olutions are available. It’s time we began looking after our own.”


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