Asian J Psychiatr 2017 Oct 4;29:106-109. Epub 2017 May 4.
Professor Psychiatry, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian and Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada; Emeritus Professor Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine, Western University, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a life threatening complication of antipsychotic therapy. It is often assumed to be rare. Observations suggest that rather than overestimating its frequency, we are more likely to underestimate it (Pope et al., 1986). It is a rare but potentially fatal disorder characterized by four principal symptoms. These are mental status changes, muscle rigidity, hyperthermia, and autonomic dysfunction. The diagnosis of NMS often presents a challenge because several medical conditions generate similar symptoms. Although less common now than in the past, thanks to greater awareness, it remains a risk in susceptible patients receiving conventional or atypical neuroleptics. Reducing the risk factors, early recognition of suspected cases, and prompt management can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality of this dangerous condition. Collaboration between psychiatry and other medical specialities may be the key to a successful outcome.