Acute interventions for aggression and agitation in psychosis: Study protocol for a systematic review network meta-analysis
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INTRODUCTION: Individuals with psychosis may access emergency services due to aggression and agitation. When the de-escalation technique fails to achieve tranquillisation, several pharmacological options are available. However, evidence on which intervention to prefer in terms of efficacy and tolerability to achieve resolution of the acute episode (ie, rapid tranquillisation) of aggression and agitation is currently fragmentary. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will include all randomised controlled trials comparing drugs or drug combinations or placebo for aggression or agitation episodes in adult individuals with psychosis. We will include individuals with psychosis (eg, schizophrenia and related disorders, bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms, psychotic depression) but not substance or medication-induced psychosis or psychosis due to another medical condition. Our primary outcomes are the change in aggression or agitation scores within few hours since the administration of the intervention (efficacy outcome) and the proportion of participants who dropped out due to adverse effects (tolerability outcome). We will retrieve relevant studies from the register of studies of the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group. Also, we will run additional searches on CENTRAL, Embase and PubMed to retrieve potentially eligible studies focusing on other psychiatric diagnoses than those in the schizophrenia spectrum. We will conduct a random-effects network meta-analysis (NMA) for primary and secondary outcomes. In case of rare events of dichotomous outcomes, a common-effect Mantel-Haenszel NMA will be used instead. We will use the surface under the cumulative ranking curve and the mean ranks to rank all available treatments. Local and global methods of evaluation of inconsistency will be employed. Quality of evidence contributing to network estimates of the main outcomes will also be assessed with Confidence in Network Meta-Analysis. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study does not require ethical approval. We will disseminate our findings by publishing results in a peer-reviewed journal. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019137945.