Struggling to find Effective Pharmacologic Options for Akathisia? B-CALM!

Academic Article


  • Akathisia is a movement disorder affecting the trunk and limbs, characterized by subjective and objective restlessness. Key signs include continual, repetitive rocking, leg shuffling, and fidgeting. Antipsychotic-induced akathisia is optimally managed by reducing the medication dose or switching to a second generation antipsychotic that is less prone to inducing akathisia. However, since medication changes are often not feasible, we review the available classes of rescue agents for akathisia symptoms. The fitting acronym, "B-CALM", which stands for Beta-blockers, Clonazepam, Anticholinergics, cLonidine and Mirtazapine, will assist prescribers in facile recall of evidence-based treatment options for akathisia. Pharmacological agents such as mianserin, trazodone, Vit B6, amantadine, gabapentin, and pregabalin have also been examined as treatment options for antipsychotic-induced akathisia. Although initial exploratory reports on these agents have been promising, the current evidence is insufficient. Akathisia has a good prognosis when managed early in the course of treatment. A variety of safe rescue agents are available for the management of this condition, however, current evidence best supports the use of propranolol and mirtazapine.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Thippaiah SM; Fargason RE; Birur B
  • Start Page

  • 72
  • End Page

  • 78
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 3