We conducted a postal questionnaire survey of the practice of rapid tranquillisation among 215 consultant psychiatrists in the West of Scotland, before and after the withdrawal of droperidol by the manufacturer.
One hundred and eighty questionnaires (84% of those sent) were returned. Droperidol had been used extensively, often combined with lorazepam, for rapid tranquillisation. The main replacement suggested for droperidol was haloperidol. About half of the respondents to our survey chose to comment on the withdrawal of droperidol. More than half of the comments were unfavourable, including lack of an adequate replacement and lack of consultation with the psychiatric profession.
The abrupt withdrawal of droperidol, partly for commercial reasons, was regrettable. There was no time for an adequate evaluation of possible replacement medications and a lack of consultation with the profession regarding the impact on clinical care.
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