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Drug-induced confusional states: the usual suspects?

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Hufschmidt A, Shabarin V, Zimmer T. Drug-induced confusional states: the usual suspects?

Acta Neurol Scand 2009: 120: 436–438.

© 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Munksgaard. Background – 

Acute confusional state (ACS) is a frequent reason for hospital admission. This study examines retrospectively the frequency by which individual drugs were found responsible for ACS. Results – 

Drug-induced ACS was found in 65 (18.8%) of 346 hospital admissions for acute confusion. The most frequent causative substances were dopaminergic drugs in Parkinsonian patients (24.2%), diuretics (15.1%), tricyclic or tetracyclic antidepressants (13.6%) and benzodiazepines (13.6%). Almost half of the patients were demented, and in one-third of these, dementia had not been diagnosed hitherto. Conclusion – 

The data suggest that diuretics by way of causing hyponatraemia are as relevant a cause of ACS as dopaminergic or anticholinergic substances.

Keywords: delirium; diuretics; dopamine; dopamine agonists

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Departments of Neurology 2: Medicine, Verbundkrankenhaus Bernkastel-Wittlich, Wittlich, Germany

Publication date: December 1, 2009


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