Delirium tremens was treated in 180 patients. In 173 the onset occurred while the patient was actively drinking; in 7 it occurred 1 to 48 hours after admission to the hospital. This fact conflicts with the teaching that delirium tremens is a withdrawal syndrome. Treatment in uncomplicated cases consisted of the complete withdrawal of alcohol and the administration of promazine hydrochloride. Experience led to a program consisting of an initial intramuscular injection of 200 or 300 mg., a second injection of 100 mg. within four or less hours, and oral administration of 100 mg. four times a day for maintenance thereafter. In the last 87 cases there have been no deaths. The prompt control of delirium, shortened period of hospitalization, and lowered mortality contrast sharply with the prolonged illness and mortality of 10% associated with older methods of treatment.
Figurelli FA. DELIRIUM TREMENS: REDUCTION OF MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY WITH PROMAZINE. JAMA. 1958;166(7):747–750. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990070033008
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: