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NINDS Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Information Page


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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.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
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)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD   20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
5600 Fishers Lane, CDER-HFD-240
Rockville, MD   20857
http://www.fda.gov
Tel: 301-827-4573 888-INFO-FDA (463-6332)

 


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



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.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated April 16, 2014