Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system which is often caused by an adverse reaction to antipsychotic and neuroleptic drugs. The disorder tends to develop within first 2 weeks of treatment with the drug, though the disorder can develop at any time during the therapy. The syndrome tends to also occur in those people who take anti-Parkinsonism drugs called dopaminergics if the drugs are abruptly discontinued.
The condition is characterised by high fever, unstable blood pressure, sweating, muscular rigidity, stupor and autonomic dysfunction. The onset of neuroleptic malignant syndrome is gradual.
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.
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