Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The management of 'death rattle' was reviewed by a task group on behalf of the Association for Palliative Medicine's Science Committee. Evidence was searched for the effectiveness of various anti-muscarinic drugs in drying oropharyngeal and bronchial secretions in dying patients. Clinical guidelines were constructed based on evidence from volunteer and clinical studies. Death rattle occurs in half of all dying patients and some response occurs in around 80% of treated patients. Clinical studies demonstrate that subcutaneous hyoscine hydrobromide 400 microg is more effective at improving symptoms at 30 min than glycopyrronium 200 microg by the same route. Volunteer studies demonstrate that intramuscular glycopyrronium 400 microg is as effective in drying secretions at 30 min as a dose of 200 microg given intravenously. Duration of response is shortest for hyoscine butylbromide (1 h) and longest for glycopyrronium (more than 6 h). There is insufficient evidence to support the use of one drug over another in a continuous infusion and prescribers should base decisions on different characteristics of each anti-muscarinic drug.

Original publication

DOI

10.1191/0269216302pm584oa

Type

Journal article

Journal

Palliative medicine

Publication Date

09/2002

Volume

16

Pages

369 - 374

Addresses

St. Gemma's Hospice, Leeds, UK. m.bennett@st-gemma.co.uk

Keywords

Association for Palliative Medicine's Science Committee, Bronchi, Saliva, Humans, Respiratory Sounds, Muscarinic Antagonists, Palliative Care, Evidence-Based Medicine