[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor (NMDA-R) encephalitis is a new autoimmune disorder, often paraneoplastic in nature, presenting with complex neuropsychiatric symptoms. Diagnosed serologically, this disorder is often responsive to immunosuppressant treatment. The objective of this review is to educate clinicians on the challenges of diagnosis and management of this disorder.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis, formally recognized in 2007, has been increasingly identified as a significant cause of autoimmune and paraneoplastic encephalitis. Approximately 80% of the patients are females. The characteristic syndrome evolves in several stages, with approximately 70% of the patients presenting with a prodromal phase of fever, malaise, headache, upper respiratory tract symptoms, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Next, typically within two weeks, patients develop psychiatric symptoms including insomnia, delusions, hyperreligiosity, paranoia, hallucinations, apathy and depression. Catatonic symptoms, seizures, abnormal movements, autonomic instability, memory deficits may also develop during the course of the disease. Presence of antibodies against the GluN1 subunit of the NMDAR in the CSF and serum confirm the diagnosis of NMDAR encephalitis, which also should prompt a thorough search for an underlying tumor. Age, gender, and ethnicity may all play a role, as black females older than 18 years of age have an increased likelihood of an underlying tumor. Treatment is focused on tumor resection and first-line immunotherapy [corticosteroids, plasma exchange, and intravenous immunoglobulin]. In non-responders, second- line immunotherapy [rituximab or cyclophosphamide or combined] is required. More than 75% of the patients recover completely or have mild sequelae, while the remaining patients end up demonstrating persistent severe disability or death. There is a paucity of literature on the management of psychiatric symptoms in this population. Given the neuropsychiatric symptoms in the relatively early phase of the illness, approximately 77 % of the patients are first evaluated by a psychiatrist. Earlier recognition of this illness is of paramount importance as prompt diagnosis and treatment can potentially improve prognosis. We describe two patients diagnosed with NMDAR encephalitis presenting with two different psychiatric manifestations. The first patient presented with psychotic mania and catatonic symptoms, while the second suffered from depression with psychotic and catatonic features refractory to psychotropic medications. We review of the use of psychotropic medications and ECT to address insomnia, agitation, psychosis, mood dysregulation and catatonia in NMDAR encephalitis.
General hospital psychiatry 03/2014; · 2.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies attack NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate)-type glutamate receptors at central neuronal synapses. Symptoms include a highly characteristic set of neurologic deficits, but also prominent psychiatric manifestations that often bring mental health professionals into the course of care. Distinct phases of illness have become increasingly appreciated, and include a range of psychotic symptoms early in the course of the disease followed by more severe fluctuations in consciousness with neurologic involvement, and ultimately protracted cognitive and behavioral deficits. Young women are most commonly impacted and an ovarian teratoma is sometimes associated with the syndrome. Patients respond well to immunotherapy, but psychiatric symptoms can be challenging to manage. We provide an up to date review of this disorder and highlight the role of psychiatry in diagnosis, symptomatology, and treatment.
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