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Journal of Addiction
Volume 2016, Article ID 6028971, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Heavy Alcohol Drinking Associated Akathisia and Management with Quetiapine XR in Alcohol Dependent Patients

1University of Louisville School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA
2Robley Rex VA Medical Center, Louisville, KY, USA

Received 30 April 2016; Revised 28 August 2016; Accepted 5 October 2016

Academic Editor: Ildiko Racz

Copyright © 2016 Zimple Kurlawala and Vatsalya Vatsalya. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Heavy drinking contributes to involuntary body movements such as akathisia. Quetiapine has been shown to alleviate symptoms of akathisia; however, its efficacy in the alcohol dependent population is not well established. Thus, we aimed to identify efficacy of Quetiapine in treating akathisia in very heavy drinking alcohol dependent patients. 108 male and female heavy alcohol consuming study participants received 13 weeks of Quetiapine XR. Drinking history (Timeline Followback, TLFB), depression (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, MADRS), and movement (Barnes Akathisia Scale, BARS) measures were collected at baseline (0 W), week 6 (6 W), and week 12 (12 W). The role of drinking, symptoms of depression, and efficacy of Quetiapine for treating akathisia were assessed. In patients with no symptoms of depression (low MADRS), Quetiapine treatment decreased symptoms of akathisia. Patients with clinically significant depression (high MADRS) reported a significant increase in akathisia measures at 6 W which eventually decreased at 12 W to below baseline levels. The increase in akathisia at 6 W corresponded with a significant increase in the patients’ total drinks and heavy drinking pattern. Treatment with Quetiapine progressively lowered the occurrence of akathisia in alcohol dependent patients who do not show symptoms of depression. Quetiapine treatment lowered akathisia over time in heavy drinkers who had clinically significant symptoms of depression.