Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a rare but life-threatening neurological disorder usually caused by an adverse reaction to antipsychotic medications (sometimes called neuroleptic medications). It seems to be most common among men under age 40, but can affect anyone. Unfortunately some doctors misinterpret the signs of neuroleptic malignant syndrome as symptoms of mental illness, leading to delayed treatment and potentially death.
The Importance of Medical Supervision
Many antipsychotic medications treat schizophrenia and similar diseases by helping the brain regulate levels of dopamine. The symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome are believed to be caused by low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. These symptoms include increased body temperature, confusion, shock, and muscular rigidity. Muscular rigidity, along with elevated concentrations of certain enzymes in the blood, are often signs that the patient’s muscles are rapidly breaking down.
In some cases, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and other antipsychotic-related conditions are hard to predict or diagnose. There are dozens of medications used to treat psychosis, each one with slightly different properties, and many patients try several medicines before finding one. Likewise, each person’s individual reaction to a particular drug may vary somewhat.
Nonetheless, anyone taking an antipsychotic who begins displaying symptoms should be treated immediately to prevent serious harm. Doctors who prescribe these medications should be aware of their effects, including potential side effects, and should make sure their patients are safe.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, you are entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. To discuss your case with an experienced Champaign medical malpractice lawyer, contact the attorneys of Spiros Law, P.C. today at (217) 328-2828.