Abstract

Background: Haloperidol is the most frequently prescribed antipsychotic for delirium symptoms. The risk of QTc prolongation often raises concerns, although the effect of haloperidol on QTc interval has not yet been investigated in a randomised placebo-controlled fixed-dose study.

Methods: A subanalysis of a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the effect of prophylactic haloperidol 1 mg or placebo 1 mg orally twice-daily (maximum of 14 doses) on QTc interval in patients aged 70 years and over. Bedside, 12-lead ECGs were recorded before, during and after the one-week intervention period. Automatic QTc measurements were obtained in addition to manual measurements of QT and RR intervals, blinded for treatment status. Manual measurements were corrected (QTc) using Bazett (QTc-B), Framingham (QTc-Fa), Fridericia (QTc-Fi) and Hodges (QTc-H) methods. Mixed model analyses were used to test for differences in longitudinal course of QTc between patients receiving haloperidol and placebo.

Results: ECG recordings of 72 patients (haloperidol n = 38) were analysed, 45.8% male. Median (range) haloperidol serum concentration on day 4 was 0.71 (0.32-1.82) µg/L (n = 23). Longitudinal course of mean QTc did not significantly differ between treatment arms for any of the automatic or manually derived QTc values.

Conclusions: Low dose oral haloperidol did not result in QTc prolongation in older acutely hospitalised patients. Results may not be generalizable to patients with existing ECG abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-407
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geriatric Cardiology
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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