The psychopharmacology of catatonia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, akathisia, tardive dyskinesia, and dystonia

Pascal Sienaert, Peter van Harten, Didi Rhebergen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although highly prevalent, motor syndromes in psychiatry and motor side effects of psychopharmacologic agents remain understudied. Catatonia is a syndrome with specific motor abnormalities that can be seen in the context of a variety of psychiatric and somatic conditions. The neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a lethal variant, induced by antipsychotic drugs. Therefore, antipsychotics should be used with caution in the presence of catatonic signs. Antipsychotics and other dopamine-antagonist drugs can also cause motor side effects such as akathisia, (tardive) dyskinesia, and dystonia. These syndromes share a debilitating impact on the functioning and well-being of patients. To reduce the risk of inducing these side effects, a balanced and well-advised prescription of antipsychotics is of utmost importance. Clinicians should be able to recognize motor side effects and be knowledgeable of the different treatment modalities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology

Cite this