Neurosyphilis, an infectious neuroinflammatory disorder, could cause diverse neuropsychiatric symptoms mimicking disorders of schizophrenia and dementia; hence, it is known as the “chameleon of psychiatry.” Here, we present a subject with neurosyphilis with schizophrenic features and share the treatment outcome.
A 42-year-old single man had schizophrenic-like features and cognitive dysfunction for 1 year. Neurosyphilis was confirmed by a cerebral spinal fluid study. The brain image revealed multiple punctuated white matter gliosis in the bilateral frontal lobes and old lacunar infarctions in the bilateral basal hippocampus. The neuropsychiatric functions were declined until adjunctive memantine therapy.
With the add-on therapy of memantine 10 mg daily, the psychotic and dementic symptoms markedly improved, and the patient recovered to the premorbid state in the 2-year follow-up course.
Memantine has an adjunctive effect on neurosyphilis-related neuropsychiatric disorder via modulation of the glutamatergic neurotransmission and microglia-induced neuroinflammation.