Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, NMS, is a rare disease which is induced by the use of neuroleptic drugs. It is estimated that only 0.2% of those treated with neuroleptic medication will develop NMS. Neuroleptics are a class of drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders. Clinically this disease manifests itself in four ways:
The high fever and muscle rigidity associated with NMS can give rise to the following complications: metabolic acidosis (increased acidity of the blood); respiratory failure, which results from rigidity of the chest muscles and diaphragm; muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis); and renal failure, which can result from myoglobinuria. If these complications are uncontrolled, NMS can be fatal.
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, although rare, is extremely amenable to treatment in a neuro-ICU. Such treatment vastly improves the prognosis of patients with NMS. Therapy involves:
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