Information on Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

This life-threatening neurological disorder is usually caused by an adverse reaction to anti-psychotic, or neuroleptic drugs.

What is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome?

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a life-threatening, neurological disorder most often caused by an adverse reaction to neuroleptic or antipsychotic drugs. Symptoms include high fever, sweating, unstable blood pressure, stupor, muscular rigidity, and autonomic dysfunction. In most cases, the disorder develops within the first 2 weeks of treatment with the drug; however, the disorder may develop any time during the therapy period. The syndrome can also occur in people taking anti-Parkinsonism drugs known as dopaminergics if those drugs are discontinued abruptly.

Is there any treatment?

Generally, intensive care is needed. The neuroleptic or antipsychotic drug is discontinued, and the fever is treated aggressively. A muscle relaxant may be prescribed. Dopaminergic drugs, such as a dopamine agonist, have been reported to be useful.

What is the prognosis?

Early identification of and treatment for individuals with neuroleptic malignant syndrome improves outcome. If clinically indicated, a low potency neuroleptic can be reintroduced very slowly when the individual recovers, although there is a risk that the syndrome might recur. Another alternative is to substitute another class of drugs for the neuroleptic. Anesthesia may be a risk to individuals who have experienced neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on neurological disorders such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Much of this research focuses on finding ways to prevent and treat the disorder.

Organizations

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
6001 Executive Blvd.
Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513 TTY: 301-443-8431 Depression Info: 800-421-4211 Anxiety Info: 88-88-ANXIETY (269-4389) Panic Info: 888-64-PANIC (64-72642)
Fax: 301-443-4279

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
5600 Fishers Lane
CDER-HFD-210
Rockville, MD 20857
http://www.fda.gov
Tel: 301-827-4573 888-INFO-FDA (463-6332)

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

Source:

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, MD 20892

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Overseen by an international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe, CounsellingResource.com provides peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. CounsellingResource.com is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2002-2019. All Rights Reserved.