Chemical Restraints

At times a patient may be too violent, even while physically restrained, for an adequate evaluation to be performed. The use of pharmacologic agents can be a safe and effective means of controlling such patients, provided the drugs are used appropriately and that physicians are aware of their adverse affects ( Tab!eii2,93-3). The term rapid tranquilization has been used to describe delivery of medications in a titrated fashion to gain control of patients with psychiatric illness, substance abuse, dementia, or withdrawal symptoms.9 Standard doses of neuroleptic agents or benzodiazepines are given at 30- to 60-min intervals until the desired effect is reached. In general, doses for elderly patients should be half of those used on younger patients.

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