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Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2016 Aug 29;3(5):e280. doi: 10.1212/NXI.0000000000000280. eCollection 2016 Oct.

Neuroleptic intolerance in patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

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Université Paris-Est (F.L., M.L.), INSERM U955, Laboratoire Psychiatrie Translationnelle, et AP-HP, DHU Pe-PSY, Pole de Psychiatrie et d'Addictologie des Hôpitaux Universitaires Henri Mondor, et Fondation FondaMental, Créteil; French Reference Center on Paraneoplastic Neurological Syndrome (L.T., G.P., V.D., F.D., V.R., D.P., J.-C.A., J.-Y.D., J.H.), Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hôpital Neurologique, Bron; Institut NeuroMyoGene (INMG) INSERM U1217/CNRS UMR 5310 (L.T., V.D., F.D., V.R., J.-C.A., J.H.), Lyon; Université de Lyon-Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (L.T., V.D., F.D., J.H.); AP-HP (D.P., J.-Y.D.), Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Service de Neurologie 2-Mazarin, Paris; Service de Neurologie (J.-C.A.), CHU de Saint-Etienne et Université de Lyon, Saint-Etienne; Inserm (J.-Y.D.), U 1127, CNRS, UMR 7225, ICM, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UM 75 Paris; and Université de Bordeaux (L.G.), Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience, UMR 5297, France.



To precisely describe the initial psychiatric presentation of patients with anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antibodies encephalitis (anti-NMDAR encephalitis) to identify potential clues enhancing its early diagnosis.


We retrospectively studied the French Reference Centre medical records of every adult patient with anti-NMDAR encephalitis to specify the patients' initial psychiatric symptoms leading to hospitalization in a psychiatric department and the reasons underlying the diagnosis of anti-NMDAR encephalitis.


The medical records of 111 adult patients were reviewed. Psychiatric features were the initial presentation in 65 patients (59%). Among them, several psychiatric manifestations were observed, including visual and auditory hallucinations (n = 26, 40%), depression (n = 15, 23%), mania (n = 5, 8%), acute schizoaffective episode (n = 15, 23%), and eating disorder or addiction (n = 4; 6%). Forty-five patients (40% of total cohort) were first hospitalized in a psychiatric institution (91% women), with a median duration of stay of 9 days (range 0.25-239 days). Among them, 24 patients (53%) had associated discreet neurologic signs at the first evaluation, while 17 additional patients (38%) developed neurologic signs within a few days. Twenty-one patients (47%) were transferred to a medical unit for a suspicion of antipsychotic intolerance characterized by high temperature, muscle rigidity, mutism or coma, and biological results suggesting rhabdomyolysis.


Several psychiatric presentations were observed in patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis, although none was specific; however, patients, mostly women, also had discreet neurologic signs that should be carefully assessed as well as signs of antipsychotic intolerance that should raise suspicion for anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

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