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Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

What is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome?

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a rare, life-threatening, neurological disorder most often caused by an adverse reaction to neuroleptic or antipsychotic drugs.

In most cases, the neuroleptic malignant syndrome develops within the first 2 weeks of treatment with the drug. However, neuroleptic malignant syndrome may develop any time during the therapy period. It can also occur in people taking anti-Parkinsonism drugs known as dopaminergics if those drugs are discontinued abruptly.

What Causes Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome?

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is usually caused by negative reaction reaction to the use of almost any of a group of antipsychotic drugs or major tranquilizers.

Antipsychotic drugs and/or major tranquilizers are commonly prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia and other neurological, mental, or emotional disorders. Some of the more commonly prescribed neuroleptics include thioridazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine, fluphenazine and perphenazine.

What are the Symptoms of Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome?

The most common symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome are:

  • high fever
  • sweating
  • unstable blood pressure
  • stupor
  • muscular stiffness
  • autonomic dysfunction
  • paranoid behavior
  • excessive secretion of saliva

Can Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome be Treated?

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome can be treated. Usually, intensive care is needed. The neuroleptic or antipsychotic drug is discontinued, and the fever is treated aggressively. A muscle relaxant may be prescribed.

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