Case Review|Articles in Press

Pharmacologic Therapy to Mitigate Acute Agitation in the Emergency Department: Case Reports of Diverse Patient Presentations

Published:December 31, 2022DOI:


      Nurses in the emergency department often encounter patients exhibiting signs of aggressive behavior. Nurses need to know the pharmacologic treatment appropriate for the patient scenario to ensure safety for the patient and the emergency department team. This case review examines 4 common scenarios where a patient exhibits aggressive behavior. After each case review is a discussion about the appropriate pharmacologic therapy for that patient. The cases portrayed are fictional but based on experience and previous observations.

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      Tonya Rutherford-Hemming is Clinical Nurse IV, Heart of Carolina Chapter ENA, Emergency Department, University of North Carolina Healthcare, Chapel Hill, NC. ORCID identifier:


      Elizabeth Taber, PharmD, BCPP is Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Psychiatry, University of North Carolina Medical Center, Chapel Hill, NC.


      Gary Linder is Durham County EMS, Tactical Medic Education Coordinator, Durham, NC.