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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

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Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a rare neurological condition that is caused by an adverse reaction to neuroleptic (tranquilizer) or antipsychotic drugs. These drugs are commonly prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia and other neurological, mental, or emotional disorders. Affected people may experience high fever, muscle stiffness, sweating, unstable blood pressure, altered mental status, and autonomic dysfunction. In most cases, the condition develops within the first 2 weeks of treatment with the drug; however, it may develop any time during the therapy period. The exact underlying cause of neuroleptic malignant syndrome is unknown. In some cases, more than one family member can be affected which suggests there may be a genetic component. Upon diagnosis of the condition, the neuroleptic or antipsychotic drug is generally discontinued under a physician's supervision. Medications and/or other interventions may also be recommended to manage symptoms.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 7/14/2015


  1. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Information Page. National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. April 2014;
  2. Theodore I Benzer, MD, PhD. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. Medscape Reference. February 2015;
  3. Eelco FM Wijdicks, MD. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome. UpToDate. May 2014; Accessed 7/14/2015.
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Basic Information

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Merck Manual for health care professionals provides information on Neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.