Revisiting Antipsychotic-induced Akathisia: Current Issues and Prospective Challenges

Curr Neuropharmacol. 2017;15(5):789-798. doi: 10.2174/1570159X14666161208153644.


Background: Akathisia continues to be a significant challenge in current neurological and psychiatric practice. Prompt and accurate detection is often difficult and there is a lack of consensus concerning the neurobiological basis of akathisia. No definitive treatment has been established for akathisia despite numerous preclinical and clinical studies.] Method: We reviewed antipsychotic-induced akathisia including its clinical presentation, proposed underlying pathophysiology, current and under investigation therapeutic strategies.

Conclusion: Despite the initial promise that second generation antipsychotics would be devoid of akathisia effects, this has not been confirmed. Currently, there are limited therapeutic options for the clinical practice and the evidence supporting the most widely used treatments (beta blockers, anticholinergic drugs) is still absent or inconsistent.

Keywords: Akathisia; agitation; anticholinergics; antipsychotics; benzodiazepines; extrapyramidal signs; movement disorders; neuroleptics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / classification
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / diagnosis
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / epidemiology
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy


  • Antipsychotic Agents