Alexandrine Syndrome and Palliative Care: A Psychotic Reaction against Death: A Case Report | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2165-7386

Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine
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Case Report

Alexandrine Syndrome and Palliative Care: A Psychotic Reaction against Death: A Case Report

Rambaud Laurence1, Gomas Jean-Marie2 and Reich Michel3*

1Psychiatry Department GHICL, Hôpital St Vincent de Paul et ST Philibert, Lille, France

2Pain and Palliative Care Unit, Hôpital Sainte Périne, APHP, Paris, France

3Psycho-Oncology Team, Centre Oscar Lambret, Lille, France

*Corresponding Author:
Reich Michel
Psycho-Oncology Team, Centre Oscar Lambret
3 rue Frédéric Combemale, 59020 Lille Cedex, BP307, France
Tel: 0033320295586
Fax: 0033320295574
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: Jul 30, 2016; Accepted date: Sep 01, 2016; Published date: Sep 05, 2016

Citation: Laurence R, Jean-Marie G, Michel R (2016) Alexandrine Syndrome and Palliative Care: A Psychotic Reaction against Death: A Case Report. J Palliat Care Med 6:280. doi:10.4172/2165-7386.1000280

Copyright: © 2016 Laurence R. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: Palliative care disclosure and death-facing can be traumatic for patients with advanced cancer. Some of them can suffer a psychotic breakdown that must be differentiated from a terminal delirium. Objectives: To describe a psychiatric side effect from a palliative care announcement called the Alexandrine syndrome. Methods: To illustrate this, we report the case of a patient with no past psychiatric history who, a few days after his palliative state has been announced, presented a major behavioral disorder with violence and paranoiac delusions, heteroagressivity against caregivers and autoagressivity, that could not be explained by a somatic origin. Results: With this case report, we would like to point out the importance of an unreported palliative clinical situation which cannot be explained by an organic substratum. An intense fear of death expressed by the patient with an outburst of defense mechanisms can lead to a brief psychiatric decompensation without any preexisting state of psychosis. Conclusion: The hypothesis of an Alexandrine syndrome should be considered in palliative care in advanced cancer patients experiencing massive anxiety when facing death. This infrequent diagnosis should especially be hypothesized when a patient presents a feature with sudden or recent profound mental disorder following an oncologist consultation with palliative state disclosure. Physical and psychological consequences must not be neglected for patients, as well as disturbing occurrences for the medical team involved. Therefore, oncologists and palliative doctors should be aware of this possibility. Collaboration between psychiatrists and palliative and oncologic teams is recommended to better manage this psychiatric situation.