1. Erdman, Michael J. PharmD
  2. Marrese, Alexa R. PharmD
  3. Haller, J. Tyler PharmD
  4. Barthol, Colleen A. PharmD
  5. Small, Clay E. PharmD


New evidence and increased use of intracranial devices have increased the frequency of intraventricular (IVT) medication administration in the neurologic intensive care unit. Significant benefits and risks are associated with administration of medications directly into the central nervous system. This review summarizes important literature, along with key information for clinicians regarding the administration, dosing, monitoring, and adverse effects related to IVT medication usage. Multiple medications have supporting literature for their use in critically ill patients including amphotericin B, aminoglycosides, colistimethate, daptomycin, quinupristin/dalfopristin, vancomycin, alteplase, and nicardipine. Sterile preparation and delivery, along with different types of devices that support medication administration, are also reviewed. One randomized, placebo-controlled trial of alteplase demonstrated decreased mortality but no change in good functional outcome. Other reports of IVT medication use are mainly limited to case reports and retrospective case series. There is a need for increased research on the topic; however, several practical barriers decrease the likelihood of a large, placebo-controlled, prospective study for most indications. Providers should consider implementing protocols to maximize safety of IVT medication delivery to ensure optimal patient outcomes.