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Painful sensory symptoms in neuroleptic-induced extrapyramidal syndromes
Am J Psychiatry 1992;149:1075-1080.
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OBJECTIVE: The authors tested the hypothesis that neuroleptic-induced extrapyramidal syndromes are associated with painful sensations objectively conforming to the characteristics of primary sensory symptoms as reported in idiopathic and postencephalitic parkinsonism. METHOD: The frequency of subjective painful sensory symptoms and their relation to neuroleptic-induced extrapyramidal syndromes were examined in a consecutive series of 107 psychiatric patients newly admitted to acute care units at a teaching hospital. Patients without illnesses or conditions likely to be associated with pain were included in the study if they had a diagnosis other than organic mental syndromes and were receiving psychotropic medications as prescribed by their treating physicians. Structured interviews with a modified version of the McGill Pain Questionnaire to assess sensory complaints and neurological examinations for neuroleptic-induced extrapyramidal syndromes (parkinsonism and akathisia) were conducted independently by two raters blind to each other's findings and patients' medication status. RESULTS: Fourteen (23%) of 60 patients receiving neuroleptics reported experiences of spontaneous pain subjectively attributed to pharmacological treatment, compared with only one (2%) of 47 patients receiving psychotropic medications other than neuroleptics. There was no difference between these two groups in subjective complaints of paresthesia (8% versus 9%). Twelve (55%) of the 22 patients with neuroleptic-induced extrapyramidal syndromes reported pain, compared with only two (5%) of the 38 patients who received neuroleptics but did not experience extrapyramidal syndromes. CONCLUSIONS: Although consonant with the study hypothesis, these results should be regarded as preliminary and interpreted conservatively in the light of the methodological limitations of the study.

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