Poor Utilization of Nimodipine in Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Arnavaz Hajizadeh Barfejani, Alejandro Rabinstein, Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Sarah L. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine adherence to nimodipine administration in patients admitted with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Background: Oral nimodipine (60 mg every 4 hours for 21 days) is recommended by the national guidelines for aSAH. A Cochrane systematic review has determined that nimodipine reduces the risk of cerebral ischemia and is currently the only effective drug for the prevention of vasospasm in aSAH patients. Design/Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 109 patients with aSAH admitted to the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a tertiary care medical center between 2010 and 2013. Nimodipine-prescribing patterns, days of therapy completed, and adverse effects were tabulated. Patients not initiated on nimodipine and reasons for prematurely stopping therapy were noted. Results: One hundred two (93%) patients with aSAH were started on oral nimodipine upon admission to the NICU. Early death (3%) and hypotension (1%) were reasons why patients were not started on nimodipine. Only 36 (33%) patients received nimodipine, 60 mg orally every 4 hours for 21 days. In 26 patients (39%), the dose of nimodipine was reduced because of excessive drops in blood pressure. Transient discontinuation occurred in 2 (2%) patients. Thirty one (47%) patients were discharged from the hospital before 21 days and nimodipine was not ordered to continue at home. Conclusion: We found that the majority of patients with aSAH in our practice did not complete 21 days of nimodipine. Hypotension was mostly responsible for dosing change or discontinuation.


  • Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • hypotension
  • medication adherence
  • nimodipine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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