BACKGROUND Dysphoric reactions to antipsychotic medication are well recognised in association with akathisia, but can also occur independently.
METHOD Fifty-one healthy volunteers were given haloperidol 5 mg in two consecutive pharmacokinetic studies.
RESULTS Dysphoria occurred in about 40% of the subjects on both occasions, but akathisia was only detected in 8% (first study) and 16% (second study). All adverse effects were transient and were abolished in nine of the ten subjects given procyclidine.
CONCLUSIONS While dysphoria is a well-recognized reaction in healthy volunteers, it is probably insufficiently recognised in patients, particularly if it occurs in the absence of akathisia. Better detection could improve compliance in patients.