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Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome: Response to Dantrolene Sodium

DAVID C. MAY, M.D., Ph.D.; STEPHAN W. MORRIS, M.D.; R. MALCOLM STEWART, M.D.; BARRY J. FENTON, M.D.; and F. ANDREW GAFFNEY, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to F. Andrew Gaffney, M.D.; University of Texas Health Science Center, Division of Cardiology, H8.122, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd.; Dallas, TX 75235.


Departments of Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry, Southwestern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center; Dallas, Texas


© 1983 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(2):183-184. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-98-2-183
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The neuroleptic malignant syndrome is an uncommon and potentially lethal complication of treatment with antipsychotic medication (1). This syndrome is characterized by severe fever, altered mental status, autonomic instability, and generalized skeletal muscle rigidity. Also, leukocytosis and elevations in creatine kinase may be prominent. To date, treatment has consisted mainly of supportive measures (1-5).

Recently, attention has been drawn to the similarity between the neuroleptic malignant syndrome and malignant hyperthermia, a pharmacogenetic disorder of skeletal muscle (1). Patients with malignant hyperthermia are susceptible to an acute, life-threatening, hyperthermic reaction to certain pharmacologic agents (6). Dantrolene sodium has been used successfully

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