Neuroleptic-induced hypothermia associated with amelioration of psychosis in schizophrenia

C. W. Heh, J. Herrera, E. DeMet, S. Potkin, J. Costa, J. Sramek, E. Hazlett, M. S. Buchsbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Body temperature is a regulatory function of the hypothalamus. Recently, DeMet et al. (Society for Neuroscience Abstracts Vol 12, 1986) reported that apomorphine stimulation of dopamine autoreceptors caused a significant decrease in metabolic rate in the posterior heat-conserving area of the hypothalamus. The logical hypothesis to follow is that apomorphine administration should induce a decrement in body temperature; this in fact was demonstrated by Cutler et al. (Commun Psychopharmacol 3:375-382, 1979) in humans. It is well known that neuroleptics also disrupt thermoregulation (Clark: Neurosci Biobehav Rev 3:179-231, 1979) and affect dopamine autoreceptors. Therefore, eight chronic treatment-resistant schizophrenics underwent a 6-week single-blind trial of haloperidol and then a subsequent 6-week double-blind trial of clozapine. Both haloperidol and clozapine significantly lowered oral body temperatures relative to baseline washout temperatures. More interestingly, clozapine relative to haloperidol was found to induce a greater decrement in body temperature and was associated with greater clinical improvement. Possible confounding variables are discussed, as is the possible neurochemical basis for the amelioration of psychosis associated with hypothermia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine
  • Hypothalamus
  • Neuroleptic
  • Psychoses
  • Schizophrenia
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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