The British Journal of Psychiatry
Psychotoxic Effects of Benzhexol Hydrochloride (Artane)


The British and American literature is reviewed in relation to the incidence, form and content of psychiatric reactions occurring as adverse effects of benzhexol hydrochloride (Artane) medication and the predisposing factors are noted.

The contrast between reported incidences of 2 per cent. to 19.2 per cent. in neurological practice, and a virtual absence in psychiatric applications is discussed. Attention is drawn to the abuse of Artane by adolescents because of its hallucinogenic properties.

Reports of episodes of severe pathological excitement following self-administered benzhexol are reviewed, and two further cases involving doses of 42 mg. and 150 mg. are described, confirmed by qualitative detection in the urine. In one case a lack of correlation between EEG pattern and behavioural arousal is demonstrated.

Comparisons are made with similar acute psychoses, and a possible neurophysiological basis for the salient psychiatric symptoms is suggested.