Olanzapine and Lorazepam Used in the Symptomatic Management of Excited Catatonia Secondary to Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis

Namita Neerukonda, Michael Bliss, Abtin Jafroodifar, Luba Leontieva
Curēus 2020 June 18, 12 (6): e8689
Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis has become one of the more well-known autoimmune diseases affecting the brain and it is characterized by a multitude of progressive neuropsychiatric symptoms. The following case describes the clinical course of an 18-year-old female with excited type catatonia secondary to anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The patient had been brought to the ED by her parents in an acutely psychotic state characterized by profound disorganization and vivid visual hallucinations. She was admitted to psychiatry and her hospital course was significant for both retarded and excited type catatonia, autonomic instability, and sensitivity to multiple neuroleptics. Given the atypicality of her symptoms and a family history of autoimmune disease, workup for autoimmune encephalitis was performed. MRI of the pelvis showed an indeterminate ovarian mass and laboratory studies were generally unremarkable. The catatonic symptoms resolved over the course of three weeks, eventually responding to a combination of lorazepam and olanzapine. Following discharge, a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) panel resulted with positive titers for anti-NMDA receptor antibodies. This case illustrates the need to consider autoimmune encephalitis in cases of catatonia. It also presents a case in which symptoms of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis potentially remitted without immunotherapy or mass resection.

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