THE TREATMENT OF SCOPOLAMINE-INDUCED DELIRIUM WITH PHYSOSTIGMINE.
EDGEWOOD ARSENAL MD
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A study was made of the effect of physostigmine treatment of scopolamine-induced delirium. Thirty-three normal male volunteers were divided into four groups and given 24 microgramskg of scopolamine hydrobromide intramuscularly, after which serial physiologic and quantitative mental-function studies were done. Maximum scopolamine-induced delirium was seen 90 min after injection. One group served as controls and received no therapy. The other three groups were treated with 50 microgramskg of physostigmine salicylate im, one group each at 15, 30, and 90 min after scopolamine administration. The group treated at 90 min improved considerably, whereas the groups treated at 30 and 15 min showed respectively less improvement. It is concluded that physostigmine reverses the delirium produced by scopolamine in humans after it has occurred but is less capable of preventing its onset. Physostigmine, carefully employed, is recommended as an antidote in cases of accidental overdosage of anticholinergic drugs. Author