Non-functional CYP2D6 alleles and risk for neuroleptic-induced movement disorders in schizophrenic patients

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1997 May;131(2):174-9. doi: 10.1007/s002130050281.


The use of classic anti-psychotic drugs in the long-term treatment of schizophrenia is associated with risk for extrapyramidal side-effects, such as akathisia, parkinsonism and tardive dyskinesia (TD). Approximately 5-10% of European Caucasians lack the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2D6 (so-called poor metabolizers; PM), which normally metabolizes several drugs including many neuroleptics. PM subjects may achieve high or toxic plasma levels upon standard drug therapy. In this study we have examined 100 subjects from the Nithsdale cohort of schizophrenic patients in South-west Scotland receiving long-term neuroleptic medication, which enabled us to perform both a cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluation of extrapyramidal side-effects in relation to the genetically impaired CYP2D6 metabolism. We identified ten (10%) schizophrenic subjects with the PM genotype. In the cross-sectional study, the prevalence of TD, parkinsonism and akathisia was 51%, 38% and 15%, respectively. Patients with TD or parkinsonism were significantly older than patients without these side-effects. In contrast, patients with akathisia were significantly younger than patients without akathisia. There was a non-significant tendency for PM subjects to have more severe ratings for TD and parkinsonism. In the long-term evaluation based on repeated ratings since 1981, there was a non-significant 3-fold higher frequency of PM subjects among schizophrenic patients with longitudinal TD, as compared with the group of patients with fluctuating or no TD. These results indicate that genetically impaired CYP2D6 metabolism may be a contributing factor for the development of persistent TD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics*
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6