What is Serotonin Syndrome?A potentially serious drug reaction that is negative in nature is known as Serotonin Syndrome. It is said to happen when there is excess build up of serotonin in your body. serotonin is produced by the nerve cells and is a neurotransmitter. It is said to play an important role in the proper functioning of the brain and nerve cells and is also said to have an impact on your mood. This condition can occur when you start to take a new medicine or increased dosage. Serotonin Syndrome Symptoms There are quite a few Serotonin Syndrome symptoms that individuals must know about. These symptoms usually show up within minutes or hours of increasing the dosage of an existing medication or taking a new medicine. We have listed some of the most common symptoms of this condition below for your reference and knowledge:
- Increased confusion
- Feeling shivers in the body
- Feeling of disorientation
- Experiencing anxiety
- Increased irritability
- Rigidity in muscles
- Spasms in muscles
- Experiencing tremors
- Having diarrhoea
- An increase in heartbeat or tachycardia
- Having high blood pressure
- Feeling nauseous
- Experiencing hallucinations
- Dilated pupils
- Hyperreflexia or overactive reflexes
- Coma in serious cases
These are some of the reasons for Serotonin Syndrome that doctors have been able to identify. Who is at Risk? There are various Serotonin Syndrome risk factors as it can happen to anyone due to multiple reasons. Some individuals are more susceptible to supplements and drugs which cause this condition than others. However, experts have been able to identify certain possible risk factors related to this. We have mentioned them below for your reference and understanding of the same:
- If an individual has recently started taking certain medications
- When there is an increase in dose that an individual takes for medicines that increase serotonin levels.
- Someone who takes herbal supplements or illicit drugs known to increase.
Serotonin Syndrome Causes There are many factors that lead to Serotonin Syndrome causes which have been identified by researchers. We have discussed below for your understanding some of these causes in details:
- When an individual combines two or more medications, nutritional supplements or illicit drugs which increase serotonin levels.
- When an individual heavily relies on anti-depressants to manage depression and stress and anxiety levels
- When there is an increase in the dosage of a certain medication which is known to cause an increase in serotonin levels as well.
These are some common causes that are known to cause this condition. How is Serotonin Syndrome diagnosed? For Serotonin Syndrome diagnosis, a Serotonin Syndrome doctor will need to perform a certain number of tests for conditions which have similar symptoms as this condition as there is no specific laboratory test to understand what the cause behind this condition. As mentioned, the doctor may then have to conduct multiple tests to get to the root cause of the problem:
- Before doing any sort of diagnosis the doctor will first understand your medical history and review the symptoms that you have been facing.
- The doctor will also go through the list of all the medicines that you are taking, their dosage, how many times you take it in a day and for how long.
How is Serotonin Syndrome Treated? There are different methods for Serotonin Syndrome treatment. The treatment for this can be easily carried out at home. We have mentioned in brief the process of treatment:
- For mild symptoms the doctor will advise you to stop the medications which is causing this.
- For severe cases one may have to go to the hospital where the doctor will closely monitor you.
- Doctors prescribe some medicine for Serotonin Syndrome.
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- Ensure that your doctor is aware of all the medications that you have been taking
- Learn to read warning labels on the medicine which should ideally mention if that medicine increases serotonin levels as per the legal mandate.