Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 267–274

The Pharmacologic Management of Delirium in Children and Adolescents

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s40272-014-0078-0

Cite this article as:
Turkel, S.B. & Hanft, A. Pediatr Drugs (2014) 16: 267. doi:10.1007/s40272-014-0078-0


Delirium is a serious and common problem in severely medically ill patients of all ages. It has been less addressed in children and adolescents. Treatment of delirium is predicated on addressing its underlying cause. The management of its symptoms depends on the off-label use of antipsychotics, while avoiding agents that precipitate or worsen delirium. Olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone are presently considered first-line drugs, usually replacing haloperidol. Other agents have shown promise, including melatonin to address the sleep disturbance characteristic of delirium, and dexmedetomidine, an α2-agonist, that may facilitate lower doses of benzodiazepines and opioids that may worsen delirium.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern California, Children’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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