Cocaine-associated agitated delirium and the neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Jul;14(4):425-8. doi: 10.1016/S0735-6757(96)90066-2.


The incidence of this previously rare disorder, cocaine-associated agitated delirium, appears to have increased drastically within the last 18 months. The underlying neurochemical abnormalities have recently been characterized, but most clinicians have had little experience with management of agitated delirium. The basic clinical and pathological features of this disorder are reviewed, and common pitfalls in diagnosis and management that frequently lead to needless but very expensive litigation are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Delirium / chemically induced*
  • Delirium / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome / etiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders*


  • Cocaine