Non-Antipsychotic Pharmacotherapy of Psychogenic Polydipsia: A Systematic Review

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Objective: Polydipsia is defined at the intake of excessive fluid (>3 L daily). Psychogenic polydipsia (PPD) presents without an identifiable medical cause and is often seen in patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia, OCD, anxiety, alcohol use disorder, and other psychotic disorders. The purpose of this systematic review is to assess the therapeutic effect of various non-antipsychotic medications on patients with a stable psychotic illness and concurrent PPD.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted using the following databases: PubMed, MEDLINE with Full Text, CINAHL complete, Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Cochrane methodology register, MasterFILE Premier, APA PsychArticles, APA PsychInfo, APA PsycBooks, APA PsycTests, TRIP, Nursing and Allied Health. The quality of each retained study was assessed using appropriate risk of bias tools based on study design.

Results: The initial search resulted in 1422 articles from which 22 articles were included for qualitative synthesis. Study designs ranged from case reports to double blind, placebo controlled randomized trials and was interpreted uniquely based on study design. Acetazolamide was effective in improving some PPD outcomes. Fluoxetine at high doses was effective in reducing fluid intake and polydipsia. Other medications included in this review performed equivocally for reduction of numerous parameters evaluating PPD.

Conclusion: No one drug appeared to be the most efficacious; however, some did show promise in specific populations. Those in need of pharmacotherapeutic options for PPD may consider one of the included agents to assist with co-morbid state. Further high-quality research is needed to provide better treatment guidance for PPD.


Available online 20 November 2021, 110674

Thomas Havens and Gaetano Innamorato are graduate students in the Physician Assistant program at Sacred Heart University.






Journal of Psychosomatic Research