Treatment of neuroleptic-induced akathisia with the 5-HT2A antagonist trazodone.

Beer Yaakov Mental Health Center, Israel.
Clinical Neuropharmacology (Impact Factor: 1.84). 26(3):137-41.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Akathisia is a common and distressful extrapyramidal adverse side effect usually resulting from the use of antipsychotic medications. Early management of akathisia is important because it may be associated with poor treatment response and medication noncompliance. Unfortunately many patients fail to respond to standard management of akathisia. In addition to dopaminergic mechanisms, it has been hypothesized that serotonin may play a prominent role in the pathophysiology of akathisia. Trazodone is an antidepressant agent demonstrating prominent serotonergic antagonistic properties. This open-label pilot study investigates the efficacy of trazodone in the management of akathisia. Nine female patients with a score of at least "mild akathisia" on the Barnes Akathisia Scale, and receiving a stable dose of antipsychotic medication, were administered trazodone, titrated up to a dosage of 100 mg/day over a period of 5 days. The patients demonstrated marked improvement in symptoms of akathisia. In addition, some improvement was noted in symptomatology of anxiety, depression, and psychosis. These observations suggest the use of trazodone as a beneficial and relatively safe medication for the treatment of antipsychotic medication-induced akathisia. Further study in the context of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is mandated to substantiate these preliminary findings.

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    ABSTRACT: Neuroleptic-induced acute akathisia (NIA) is a common and distressing extrapyramidal symptom usually resulting from the use of antipsychotic medication.Despite its high incidence (20%-45%), the underlying mechanism of NIA has not yet been adequately explained. Although treatment strategies for NIA have traditionally included anticholinergic agents, γ-aminobutyric acid agents, dopamine enhancers, and the β-adrenergic antagonists, many patients fail to respond. Trazodone (Trz) is an antidepressant agent demonstrating prominent serotonergic antagonistic properties. In a recent pilot open-label trial, Trz demonstrated to be strongly effective in the treatment of NIA in 9 female schizophrenic patients. On the basis of the results of this pilot study, we investigate further the efficacy of Trz in the treatment of NIA in a double-blind, placebo (Pla)-controlled, crossover design. Thirteen inpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder and with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition NIA with a severity of at least mild akathisia according to the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale participated in the study. Patients were randomly assigned to either the order Trz-Pla or the order Pla-Trz in the treatment periods. Each period lasted for 3 consecutive days (days 1-3 and 4-6). Eight patients were treated with the Trz-Pla order (100 mg/d before bedtime); and 5, with the opposite order (Pla-Trz). Statistically significant improvement in most symptoms of NIA, as measured by the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale, was detected with Trz compared with Pla treatment. The findings of this double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study indicate the efficacy of Trz in the management of NIA, corroborating the results of a preliminary pilot study. We suggest that Trz's property of serotonin 2A postsynaptic receptor antagonism may be its principal mechanism for the improvement of NIA.
    Clinical neuropharmacology 01/2010; 33(5):219-22. DOI:10.1097/WNF.0b013e3181ee7f63 · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Trazodone is a triazolopyridine derivative that belongs to the class of serotonin receptor antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). The drug is approved and marketed in several countries worldwide for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adult patients. In clinical studies, trazodone has demonstrated comparable antidepressant activity to other drug classes, including tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline (norepinephrine) reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Moreover, the SARI action of trazodone may overcome the tolerability issues that are often associated with second-generation antidepressants such as SSRIs (i.e. insomnia, anxiety and sexual dysfunction). Recent focus has been placed on the development of a new prolonged-release once-a-day formulation of trazodone (TzCOAD), which may provide improved tolerability over the conventional immediate-release formulation of trazodone. Clinical studies have led to the recent approval in the USA of TzCOAD (as Oleptro™; Angelini Labopharm LLC, Princeton, NJ, USA), which may see resurgence of interest in the drug for the management of patients with MDD. Although trazodone is approved for the treatment of depression, evidence supports the use of low-dose trazodone as an off-label hypnotic for the treatment of sleep disorders in patients with MDD. The most common adverse effects reported with trazodone are drowsiness (somnolence/sedation), headache, dizziness and dry mouth. Other events reported, albeit with low incidence, include orthostatic hypotension (particularly in elderly patients or those with heart disease), minimal anticholinergic activity, corrected QT interval prolongation and torsade de pointes, cardiac arrhythmias, and rare occurrences of priapism and suicidal ideation. Overall, trazodone is an effective and well tolerated antidepressant (SARI) with an important role in the current treatment of MDD both as monotherapy and as part of a combination strategy. Trazodone is effective in controlling a wide range of symptoms of depression, while avoiding the negative effects on sleep seen with SSRI antidepressants. The recently approved prolonged-release formulation should provide further optimization of this antidepressant and may be useful for enabling an appropriate therapeutic dose to be administered with improved patient compliance.
    CNS Drugs 12/2012; 26(12):1033-49. DOI:10.1007/s40263-012-0010-5 · 4.38 Impact Factor

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