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November 1984

Akathisia With Haloperidol and Thiothixene

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Brentwood Division, Los Angeles (Drs Van Putten and Marder); and the Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA School of Medicine (Drs Van Putten, May, and Marder).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(11):1036-1039. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790220026004

• We studied the incidence of akathisia in two populations of newly admitted schizophrenic patients: one group was treated with haloperidol and the other group was treated with thiothixene hydrochloride. Within six hours after taking a 5-mg test dose of haloperidol, 40% of the patients experienced akathisia; during maintenance treatment with 10 mg of haloperidol taken at bedtime, 75% of the patients experienced akathisia by the seventh day. With thiothixene hydrochloride (0.22-mg/kg test dose; 0.44-mg/kg maintenance dose), the respective percentages were 20% and 46%. The akathisia experienced after administration of the test of haloperidol dose was not mild or inconsequential; 28% of the patients experienced moderate, 17% of the patients experienced severe, and 22% of the patients experienced very severe akathisia. Akathisia with haloperidol could not be suppressed completely in half of the patients. Treatment-resistant akathisia was experienced as anxiety and depression. We believe these tallies to be important because akathisia causes much misery and often goes undiagnosed.

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