Heat intolerance in patients with chronic schizophrenia maintained with antipsychotic drugs

H. Hermesh*, R. Shiloh, Y. Epstein, H. Manaim, A. Weizman, H. Munitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Objective: Schizophrenia may be associated with hyperthermic syndromes such as febrile catatonia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and heatstroke. The authors hypothesized that an exercise-heat tolerance test would disclose abnormal thermoregulation in schizophrenic patients. Method: Seven male schizophrenic outpatients in remission maintained on depot antipsychotic treatment and eight healthy comparison subjects completed a heat tolerance test that consisted of two 50-minute bouts of walking a motor-driven treadmill at 40xC (relative humidity=40%). Results: A significantly higher rise in rectal and skin temperatures was observed in the patient group. No differences in heart rate, blood pressure, or perspiration were detected. Conclusions: Schizophrenic patients maintained on antipsychotic drugs exhibit impaired heat tolerance. Possible explanations are a reduced ability to convey heat from the body's core to the periphery with or without excessive heat production. The hyperthermic response to the heat tolerance test may reflect a dysfunction associated with schizophrenia, a neuroleptic-induced side effect, or both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1329
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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