is, M.D., Ph.D., study investigator and director of inpatient psychiatry at Stony Brook University Hospital. "Using it is a last resort. We want to minimize the exposure to it as much as possible," he said, adding that reducing the time in restraints, and the time patients are agitated, might also reduce time spent in the emergency room and thus reduce costs." Dr. Francis added that the results showed a "trend toward shorter overall stays in the Emergency Department."
Horacio Preval, M.D., lead author of the study and director of psychiatric emergency services at Stony Brook University Hospital, said that having patients in restraints for a shorter period of time offers substantial benefits. "Reducing the time in restraints lowers the chance for complications. This new medication really does represent a significant new option in emergency treatment of severely agitated patients, particularly because it's effective in treating agitation, whatever the apparent cause," he said.
Doctors recommend that patients treated with an intramuscular injection be transitioned to the same medication in an oral formulation.
The study followed the outcome of 110 patients who were brought to the hospital's Psychiatric Emergency Service suffering from acute agitation who were given Geodon. Of these, 72 were suffering only from psychiatric conditions, 10 had abused alcohol, and 28 had abused various forms of drugs.
The study's authors cautioned that this observational study was not a blinded, controlled design, because it is difficult to obtain consent from severely agitated patients, and called the work a "naturalistic" study, which reflects actual clinical practices.
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