Tag Archives: malignant catatonia

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome or Catatonia? A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0025

Introduction: A review of the literature has shown that there are many similarities in the presentation of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) and catatonia. Attempts to reconcile the differences have been made by suggesting that NMS and catatonia may represent different presentations of the same illness or that they lie within the same spectrum of a poorly understood clinical syndrome. The described case is of a patient who presented with NMS and catatonia which was difficult to diagnose, but which responded to treatment with intravenous diazepam.
Case presentation: The case concerns a 22-year-old male admitted for pulmonary hypertension to an intensive care unit (ICU). Three days following admission, he developed a high fever that did not respond to antibiotics. The patient then developed rigidity, nocturnal agitation, decreased responsiveness, and somnolence. Without the use of bromocriptine (Novartis, Basel, Switzerland) or dantrolene (Par Pharmaceuticals, Chestnut Ridge, USA) discontinuation of neuroleptics combined with intravenous diazepam (Pfizer, NY, USA) led to a very rapid response and marked improvement in the case.
Conclusions: Early recognition and management of NMS and MC in a complex, gravely ill patient, may be accomplished in the ICU despite obfuscation of traditional signs and symptoms of the NMS and MC syndrome. Such interventions can have life-saving effects on patients in danger of fatal autonomic instability.

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