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Serum iron and ferritin in acute neuroleptic akathisia

Hofmann M, Seifritz E, Botschev C, Kräuchi K, Müller-Spahn F. (2000) Psychiatry Res.  93(3): 201-7. 

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Acute akathisia is a common and disturbing side effect of classic antipsychotic medication. Some evidence suggests a role for iron deficiency in chronic and tardive akathisia. In acute akathisia, however, the data are contradictory.

Serum iron and ferritin levels of 33 inpatients with acute akathisia during classic neuroleptic medication were compared with those of 23 patients on classic neuroleptics without this side effect. Akathisia was rated by means of the Hillside Akathisia Scale. The groups were balanced for age (mean 38.5+/-14.5), medication (butyrophenone- and phenothiazine-derived neuroleptics) and diagnosis (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic affective disorder).

Patients with acute akathisia had significantly lower serum ferritin levels than the patients in the control group. However, the ferritin (56. 94+/-39.54 ng/ml) and iron (88.52+/-40.0 mg/dl) levels in these patients were within the normal range (ferritin 30-300 ng/dl, iron 80-180 mg/dl). No correlations between serum iron or ferritin and akathisia ratings could be found.

Although some reduction in serum ferritin was found in patients with acute akathisia compared to patients without akathisia, the difference was small and the ferritin levels were within the range of the normal population. These findings suggest a minor role for iron deficiency in acute akathisia.