The British Journal of Psychiatry


BACKGROUND Serotonin (5-HT):dopamine imbalance may underlie neuroleptic-induced akathisia.

AIM To evaluate the efficacy of the 5-HT2 antagonist, mianserin in neuroleptic-induced akathisia.

METHODS Thirty neuroleptic-treated patients with schizophrenia were randomly allocated in a double-blind design to receive either mianserin (15 mg/day) or placebo for five days. Patients were assessed at baseline and on Days 3 and 5 by the Barnes Akathisia Scale (BARS), as well as by other relevant clinical rating scales.

RESULTS Compared with the placebo group, the mianserin-treated patients showed a significant reduction in all four BARS subscales by Day 5, with mean reductions in the BARS global score of 9.9% and 52.2%, respectively (P = 0.006). Response to treatment (a reduction of at least two points on the BARS global subscale), was noted in six patients (40%) in the mianserin group and only one patient (9.1%) in the placebo group (P = 0.04, log odds ratio 2.23).

CONCLUSIONS Mianserin at a low dose may be a promising therapeutic option for patients with acute neuroleptic-induced akathisia.