Droperidol and diphenhydramine in the management of hyperemesis gravidarum

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Jun;174(6):1801-5; discussion 1805-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(96)70213-2.


Objective: Hyperemesis gravidarum is a common pregnancy complication requiring hospitalization. Continuous droperidol infusion and bolus intravenous diphenhydramine were instituted as treatment. We compared the number and length of hospitalizations for hyperemesis gravidarum, readmissions for this diagnosis, and pregnancy outcome in patients receiving this treatment protocol with a historic group of patients receiving other forms of parenteral therapy for hyperemesis gravidarum.

Study design: All patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum between January 1992 and January 1994 were offered the droperidol-diphenhydramine protocol. These patients were compared with patients admitted between January 1990 and January 1992 with a diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum but who were not treated with droperidol at any time or with diphenhydramine as primary therapy for the control of severe nausea and vomiting. Data regarding the number and length of hospitalizations and readmissions for hyperemesis gravidarum were compared, as were maternal and perinatal outcomes.

Results: Patients treated with the droperidol-diphenhydramine protocol had significantly shorter hospitalizations (3.1 +/- 1.9 vs 3.8 +/- 2.4 days, p = 0.028), fewer days per pregnancy hospitalized for hyperemesis (3.5 +/- 2.3 days vs 4.8 +/- 4.3 days, p = 0.018), and fewer readmissions with this diagnosis (15.0% vs 31.5%, p = 0.015). There were no significant differences in maternal or perinatal outcomes.

Conclusion: Droperidol and diphenhydramine infusion is a beneficial, cost-effective therapy for the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Diphenhydramine / administration & dosage
  • Diphenhydramine / therapeutic use*
  • Droperidol / administration & dosage
  • Droperidol / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / drug therapy*
  • Length of Stay
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Time Factors


  • Diphenhydramine
  • Droperidol