July, 18, 2011
This week we're talking about prescription drug reactions. Dr. William Tompkins of Blue Ridge Internal Medicine says serotonin syndrome is what's going around this week.
It's a potentially life threatening drug reaction that is caused by an overdose of serotonin, a chemical naturally produced by nerve cells. An overload of serotonin from additive effects of several medicines that boost serotonin can have a potentially fatal effect.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include confusion, loss of coordination, fast heart beat, rapid changes in blood pressure, agitation, fever/sweating or diarrhea/nausea.
Treatment may include fluids by IV and withdrawal of medicines that caused the condition.
You can prevent serotonin syndrome by making sure your doctor has an accurate and up-to-date list of prescriptions. That way the know exactly what you're taking and can avoid a potentially dangerous situation.