Rapid tranquillisation of the acutely disturbed patient

by Dr Stephen Pereira, Dr Deepak Garg and Dr David Branford


Last updated: December 2012


Rapid tranquillisation of the acutely disturbed patientRapid tranquillisation (RT) is defined as ‘the use of psychotropic medication to control agitation, threatening or destructive psychotic behaviour’ (Ellison et al, 1989).


Epidemiological studies show that people with mental disorders are more likely to be violent than community controls and substance misuse greatly increases the risk of violence in people with mental disorders as well as community controls (Davison, 2005).


Disturbed or violent behaviour by an individual in an adult in-patient psychiatric setting poses a serious risk to that individual, other patients and staff.


Immediate management of such patients is necessary to ensure the safety of other patients and staff and to reduce the patient’s level of distress due to acute agitation.


The interventions used should be the minimum required to calm the patient.


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