Structured relaxation in the treatment of akathisia: case series
Lars K Hansen1, Thomas L’Allemand2, Francine Thiry2, David S Baldwin3
1Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK; 2Centre Hopitalier Neuro-Psychiatrique, Luxembourg; 3Clinical Neuroscience Division, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Purpose: Akathisia remains a common side effect especially from antipsychotic medication. If the condition is diagnosed the management options are limited.
Subjects/methodology: We tested a structured relaxation program on nine patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia suffering from akathisia. All patients were rated on Barnes Akathisia Scale (BAS) before the relaxation program, immediately after and again one week later.
Results: The mean BAS score was before the relaxation 3.3 which reduced to 1.4 immediately after to finally 1.0 a week later. A Wilcoxon signed ranks test revealed a significant reduction in BAS score from baseline to endpoint (P = 0.026; Z = -2.232) and a highly significant reduction from baseline to follow-up (P = 0.008; Z = -2.636).
Discussion: Although the study has a number of limitations the relaxation program appears to be a promising alternative to traditional treatment of akathisia. The patients appreciated the relaxation session but none of them managed to carry it out on their own without professional encouragement. The findings in this case series warrant further investigation with larger numbers of patients.
Keywords: akathisia, relaxation, antipsychotic drugs, schizophrenia
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