A patient who is under treatment with antipsychotic drugs develops a potentially lethal complication of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). The nurse recognizes that an early sign of NMS is:

Muscle stiffness.

Explanation

• Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is an emergency state caused by an adverse reaction to antipsychotic medications, usually within 4-14 days after beginning the drug or after a dose increase

• Early signs of neuroleptic malignant syndrome are muscle stiffness, fever, sweating, and tremors

• Incorrect: Dysphagia, unstable blood pressure, and respiratory depression are late signs of neuroleptic malignant syndrome

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