Objective: To explore, using a naturalistic design, the efficacy of typical and atypical antipsychotics in the management of behavioural disturbance in people with psychiatric disorders.
Method: Prospective naturalistic study of 15,278 incidents of behavioural disturbance perpetrated by 1,059 patients, over a two year period.
Results: Typical and atypical antipsychotics did not differ in terms of their efficacy, overall. In terms of specific agents, haloperidol and quetiapine tended to show equal efficacy, with olanzapine being somewhat less effective on two of three outcome measures.
Conclusions: Overall, atypical antipsychotics were as effective as typical agents in the management of acute behavioural disturbance in a mental health setting. Further work is required to determine the relative side effect burden of those agents.