Psychopharmacology of Agitation in Acute Psychotic and Manic Episodes

Sean Stetson, MD

VA Boston Healthcare System – Faculty

Scientific Abstract


To provide updated guidance for the medication treatment of acute agitation in the setting of psychosis or mania on inpatient psychiatric units.

Recent Findings

This topic presented challenges: studies are sparse, tend to be under-powered, and are difficult to compare due to heterogeneous methods, subjects, metrics, settings, and symptom severity.  There have been few recent studies, but there have been several recent meta-analyses, Cochrane Reviews, and published guidelines (listed at right) that sift through the primarily older evidence as well as more recent trials. These reviews often do not agree as to which medication(s) have the best evidence for efficacy and safety.


We conclude that the best approach is to summarize in some detail the evidence for each possible treatment and the interpretations published recently on each of those treatments, and then present recommendations for medication management in tiered rankings, based on the authors’ qualitative review of the data and opinions.  

Live Zoom Session – March 9th

research Areas


Sean R. Stetson, MD, David N. Osser, MD

Principal Investigator

Sean R. Stetson, MD