The neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a rare, potentially fatal, adverse reaction to neuroleptic drugs characterised by severe rigidity, high temperature and autonomic dysfunction. In the light of the hypothesized pathophysiology of this condition, a rational approach to the management of patients presenting with temperature and rigidity is provided. The aims of this approach are three-fold: to reduce the incidence of the condition, to be able to recognise it early so as to treat before life-threatening complications arise, and to be able to recognise early those conditions which mimic neuroleptic malignant syndrome, so as not to delay their specific treatment.
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