Movement disorder emergencies

Neepa Patel MD (

Dr. Patel of the Henry Ford Health System received honorariums from USWorldMed for speaking engagements and from Guidepoint and Revance as a consultant.

Robert Fekete MD, editor. (

Dr. Fekete of New York Medical College received consultation fees from Acadia, Acorda, Adamas, Amneal/Impax, Kyowa Kirin, Lundbeck, Neurocrine, and Teva.

Originally released January 6, 2012; last updated August 31, 2020; expires August 31, 2patel023


Movement disorders are not commonly associated with rapidly evolving life-threatening clinical syndromes; however, there are several rare syndromes that a neurologist should always consider in the differential diagnosis, such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome, parkinsonism-hyperpyrexia syndrome, acute decompensation of parkinsonism, serotonin syndrome, lethal catatonia, dystonic storm, and malignant Tourette syndrome. Prompt recognition of these syndromes and implementation of the appropriate therapy can reduce morbidity and mortality.

Key points


• Movement disorder emergencies are rare disorders, many of which have overlapping clinical features.


• Prompt recognition of the correct diagnosis and implementation of the appropriate therapy can reduce morbidity and mortality in the management of movement disorder emergencies.


• Discontinuation of the offending treatment strategy and aggressive supportive therapy is the mainstay of treatment in most movement disorder emergencies.

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