Psychosis or simply a new manifestation of neurosyphilis?

J Int Med Res. 2006 May-Jun;34(3):335-7.


Department of Neurology, Eginition Hospital, Athens National University, Athens, Greece.


The widespread use of antibiotics in recent years has caused a significant reduction in the incidence of neurosyphilis and changes in its clinical features. We present a case that initially presented as persistent headache and untreatable psychosis. Neurosyphilis was diagnosed during the clinical evaluation. Blood serum analyses for syphilis were positive for rapid plasma reagin titres, the Venereal Disease Research Laboratories test and fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption. A lumbar puncture was performed and cerebrospinal fluid analysis resulted in the diagnosis of neurosyphilis. The patient completed a 2-week course of treatment with aqueous crystalline penicillin G and his symptoms subsequently improved. We suggest that neurosyphilis should always be included in the differential diagnosis of untreatable psychosis.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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