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Haloperidol for psychosis-induced aggression or agitation (rapid tranquillisation)

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (90th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (65th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 policy source
28 tweeters
1 Facebook page
1 Wikipedia page


56 Dimensions

Readers on

320 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
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Haloperidol for psychosis-induced aggression or agitation (rapid tranquillisation)
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009377.pub3
Pubmed ID

Edoardo G Ostinelli, Melanie J Brooke-Powney, Xue Li, Clive E Adams


Haloperidol used alone is recommended to help calm situations of aggression or agitation for people with psychosis. It is widely accessible and may be the only antipsychotic medication available in limited-resource areas. To examine whether haloperidol alone is an effective treatment for psychosis-induced aggression or agitation, wherein clinicians are required to intervene to prevent harm to self and others. We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Study-Based Register of Trials (26th May 2016). This register is compiled by systematic searches of major resources (including AMED, BIOSIS CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, and registries of clinical trials) and their monthly updates, handsearches, grey literature, and conference proceedings, with no language, date, document type, or publication status limitations for inclusion of records into the register. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving people exhibiting aggression and/or agitation thought to be due to psychosis, allocated rapid use of haloperidol alone (by any route), compared with any other treatment. Outcomes of interest included tranquillisation or asleep by 30 minutes, repeated need for rapid tranquillisation within 24 hours, specific behaviours (threat or injury to others/self), adverse effects. We included trials meeting our selection criteria and providing useable data. We independently inspected all citations from searches, identified relevant abstracts, and independently extracted data from all included studies. For binary data we calculated risk ratio (RR), for continuous data we calculated mean difference (MD), and for cognitive outcomes we derived standardised mean difference (SMD) effect sizes, all with 95% confidence intervals (CI) and using a fixed-effect model. We assessed risk of bias for the included studies and used the GRADE approach to produce 'Summary of findings' tables which included our pre-specified main outcomes of interest. We found nine new RCTs from the 2016 update search, giving a total of 41 included studies and 24 comparisons. Few studies were undertaken in circumstances that reflect real-world practice, and, with notable exceptions, most were small and carried considerable risk of bias. Due to the large number of comparisons, we can only present a summary of main results.Compared with placebo, more people in the haloperidol group were asleep at two hours (2 RCTs, n=220, RR 0.88, 95%CI 0.82 to 0.95, very low-quality evidence) and experienced dystonia (2 RCTs, n=207, RR 7.49, 95%CI 0.93 to 60.21, very low-quality evidence).Compared with aripiprazole, people in the haloperidol group required fewer injections than those in the aripiprazole group (2 RCTs, n=473, RR 0.78, 95%CI 0.62 to 0.99, low-quality evidence). More people in the haloperidol group experienced dystonia (2 RCTs, n=477, RR 6.63, 95%CI 1.52 to 28.86, very low-quality evidence).Four trials (n=207) compared haloperidol with lorazepam with no significant differences with regard to number of participants asleep at one hour (1 RCT, n=60, RR 1.05, 95%CI 0.76 to 1.44, very low-quality of evidence) or those requiring additional injections (1 RCT, n=66, RR 1.14, 95%CI 0.91 to 1.43, very low-quality of evidence).Haloperidol's adverse effects were not offset by addition of lorazepam (e.g. dystonia 1 RCT, n=67, RR 8.25, 95%CI 0.46 to 147.45, very low-quality of evidence).Addition of promethazine was investigated in two trials (n=376). More people in the haloperidol group were not tranquil or asleep by 20 minutes (1 RCT, n=316, RR 1.60, 95%CI 1.18 to 2.16, moderate-quality evidence). Acute dystonia was too common in the haloperidol alone group for the trial to continue beyond the interim analysis (1 RCT, n=316, RR 19.48, 95%CI 1.14 to 331.92, low-quality evidence). Additional data from new studies does not alter previous conclusions of this review. If no other alternative exists, sole use of intramuscular haloperidol could be life-saving. Where additional drugs are available, sole use of haloperidol for extreme emergency could be considered unethical. Addition of the sedating promethazine has support from better-grade evidence from within randomised trials. Use of an alternative antipsychotic drug is only partially supported by fragmented and poor-grade evidence. Adding a benzodiazepine to haloperidol does not have strong evidence of benefit and carries risk of additional harm.After six decades of use for emergency rapid tranquillisation, this is still an area in need of good independent trials relevant to real-world practice.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 28 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 320 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 320 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 62 19%
Student > Bachelor 48 15%
Researcher 31 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 7%
Other 18 6%
Other 57 18%
Unknown 82 26%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 89 28%
Nursing and Health Professions 44 14%
Psychology 29 9%
Social Sciences 12 4%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 12 4%
Other 38 12%
Unknown 96 30%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 24. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 August 2021.
All research outputs
of 18,897,820 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,887 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 280,760 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 257 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,897,820 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,887 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 26.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 280,760 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 257 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 65% of its contemporaries.