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Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: a review for neurohospitalists.

Neurohospitalist 2011 January
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a life-threatening idiosyncratic reaction to antipsychotic drugs characterized by fever, altered mental status, muscle rigidity, and autonomic dysfunction. It has been associated with virtually all neuroleptics, including newer atypical antipsychotics, as well as a variety of other medications that affect central dopaminergic neurotransmission. Although uncommon, NMS remains a critical consideration in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with fever and mental status changes because it requires prompt recognition to prevent significant morbidity and death. Treatment includes immediately stopping the offending agent and implementing supportive measures, as well as pharmacological interventions in more severe cases. Maintaining vigilant awareness of the clinical features of NMS to diagnose and treat the disorder early, however, remains the most important strategy by which physicians can keep mortality rates low and improve patient outcomes.

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