Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Case Report and Brief Review of Recent Literature

Children (Basel). 2021 Dec 18;8(12):1201. doi: 10.3390/children8121201.


Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a rare, life-threatening, idiosyncratic adverse reaction to antipsychotic drugs. Despite the increasing rates in the prescription of antipsychotics in pediatric patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about the occurrence and hallmarks of NMS in this specific population. NMS appears to be part of the larger catatonia domain, based on the frequent relationship between ASD and catatonia, on the shared, when not overlapping, clinical features with malignant catatonia, and on the effectiveness of catatonia treatments on the NMS/MC symptoms. The intrinsic difficulties of exploring NMS in ASD in controlled studies accounts for the subsequent lack of available information. Based on recent reports and on our case report, clinical features of NMS in the pediatric ASD population appear to be the same as the non-ASD population. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder (ASD); catatonia; neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS); pediatric.

Publication types

  • Case Reports