Second-generation antipsychotics and constipation: a review of the literature

Eur Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;26(1):34-44. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.03.003. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


Antipsychotics are the cornerstone in the management of psychotic disorders and schizophrenia. They are effective agents but also have a wide range of side effects. In the recent literature constipation as possible side effect has received little attention. A review of the literature concerning constipation associated with antipsychotics was performed. Overall constipation is a rarely studied or reported side effect of antipsychotic medication. Nevertheless constipation is a common side effect. Antipsychotic agents differ in their liability to induce constipation. Constipation can be severe and can lead to serious consequences such as paralytic ileus, bowel occlusion and death. Active screening, monitoring and treatment are recommended. Further research on incidence, prevalence, underlying mechanisms and preventive measures is required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Clozapine / adverse effects
  • Constipation / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Clozapine