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Serotonin toxicity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2014

Sobia Nasim
Connolly Norman House, 224 North Circular Road, Dublin 7, Ireland
Faraz Jabbar
Connolly Norman House, 224 North Circular Road, Dublin 7, Ireland
Asfar Afridi
Stewarts Hospital Services, Palmerston, Dublin, Ireland
Brendan D Kelly*
Department of Adult Psychiatry, University College Dublin, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, 62/63 Eccles Street, Dublin 7, Ireland
*Correspondence Email:


Serotonin toxicity is a potentially life-threatening condition associated with a range of psychotropic medications, co-administration of specific combinations of agents and overdose of certain drugs. It is associated with a wide diversity of clinical signs and symptoms, including cognitive, autonomic and somatic effects, as well as serious complications, including possible death. Diagnosis is often challenging and requires a high index of suspicion. Differential diagnosis includes syndromes such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Management depends on the causal agent and urgency of clinical presentation. Treatment may involve discontinuing the causal agent and providing supportive measures, or emergency intervention to preserve vital functions (airway, breathing, circulation), amongst other measures. Further research is needed to clarify the incidence of serotonin toxicity, issues related to differential diagnosis, optimal management of the condition, and treatment of mood problems following serotonin toxicity.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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