Antiemetics, akathisia, and pregnancy

Psychosomatics. 2007 Nov-Dec;48(6):461-6. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.48.6.461.


Gastrointestinal disorders are common in pregnant women. These disorders are often treated with antiemetic medications that block central dopaminergic neurotransmission. Dopamine antagonists can cause akathisia. Hormonal changes and other factors may place pregnant women at increased risk for the development of severe antiemetic-induced akathisia. The mental symptoms that can accompany akathisia can be misinterpreted as primary mental illness. The author reports on the case of a pregnant woman who attempted to injure herself after developing severe antiemetic-induced akathisia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / psychology
  • Antiemetics / adverse effects*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / chemically induced
  • Pregnancy Complications* / drug therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology


  • Antiemetics