Catatonic syndromes involve a complex mixture of motor, behavioral, and systemic manifestations that are derived from unclear mechanisms. What is clear is that neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (DA), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate (GLU), are of major importance in the pathogenesis of catatonia and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) and that serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) is crucial to the development of Serotonin Syndrome (SS). As medications with potent effects on modulation of monoamines proliferate, the diagnosis and management of these complex disorders become even more important. Without question, these syndromes have signs, symptoms and treatments that overlap, thus, considering the symptomatological load and the associated clinical burden (including potentially life-threatening conditions), the need for a better knowledge of the hypothesized biological mechanisms and pharmacological management is imperative. Although the search for a unique, conclusive approach to the management of catatonia is futile, stating the heterogeneity of the clinical pictures and the wide range of effective treatment choices (including non-pharmacological interventions), clinicians should not disregard an accurate, critical therapeutic approach to such a relevant, yet often disregarded, topic. The aim of this narrative review is to provide both clinicians and pharmacologists with a narrative, panoramic review on catatonia and associated clinical pictures, focusing on its general pharmacological management.
Keywords: Catatonia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), serotonin syndrome (SS), Review, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Psychopharmacology, Catatonic Syndrome (CS), Dopamine (DA), Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate (GLU), Benzodiazepines (BDZs), Neuroleptics, Typical antipsychotics, Atypical antipsychotics, Antidepressants, Mood stabilizers, Lithium carbonate, Kalbaum, Kraepelin, Pathophysiology, Treatment, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder