Food and Behaviour Research

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Relationship between iron status and chronic akathisia in an in-patient population with chronic schizophrenia

Barnes TR, Halstead SM, Little PW. (1992) Br J Psychiatry. 161: 791-6. 

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Iron status and akathisia were assessed in 105 long-stay in-patients who fulfilled DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia, all but three of whom were receiving antipsychotic medication. Chronic akathisia was diagnosed in 23% and pseudoakathisia in 20%.

No significant correlation was found between serum iron concentration and the severity of akathisia. There was no significant difference in serum iron concentration between patients with chronic akathisia and those without. However, serum iron and percentage saturation were significantly raised in patients with pseudoakathisia compared with patients with chronic akathisia, and tended to be higher than in patients with akathisia.

These findings do not support an association between low serum iron and chronic akathisia.


These findings do not support those of previous small studies reporting low serum iron in patients with akathisia (a common and troublesome side effect of anti-psychotic medications used in the management of serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia). See: The current study involved a larger sample of patients, but all were chronically ill. (Akathisia usually develops fairly rapidly following the onset of medication in the minority of patients who are vulnerable).