Affordable Access

Antipsychotic dose escalation as a trigger for Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): literature review and case series report

Authors
Publisher
BioMed Central Ltd
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Medicine
  • Psychology

Abstract

Background: “Neuroleptic malignant syndrome” (NMS) is a potentially fatal idiosyncratic reaction to any medication which affects the central dopaminergic system. Between 0.5% and 1% of patients exposed to antipsychotics develop the condition. Mortality rates may be as high as 55% and many risk factors have been reported. Although rapid escalation of antipsychotic dose is thought to be an important risk factor, to date it has not been the focus of a published case series or scientifically defined. <p/>Aims: To identify cases of NMS and review risk factors for its development with a particular focus on rapid dose escalation in the 30 days prior to onset. <p/>Methodology: A review of the literature on rapid dose escalation was undertaken and a pragmatic definition of “rapid dose escalation” was made. NMS cases were defined using DSM-IV criteria and systematically identified within a secondary care mental health service. A ratio of titration rate was calculated for each NMS patient and “rapid escalators” and “non rapid escalators” were compared. <p/>Results: 13 cases of NMS were identified. A progressive mean dose increase 15 days prior to the confirmed episode of NMS was observed (241.7mg/day during days 1-15 to 346.9mg/day during days 16-30) and the mean ratio of dose escalation for NMS patients was 1.4. Rapid dose escalation was seen in 5/13 cases and non rapid escalators had markedly higher daily cumulative antipsychotic dose compared to rapid escalators. <p/>Conclusions: Rapid dose escalation occurred in less than half of this case series (n=5, 38.5%), although there is currently no consensus on the precise definition of rapid dose escalation. Cumulative antipsychotic dose – alongside other known risk factors - may also be important in the development of NMS.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.