The Serotonin Syndrome: From Molecular Mechanisms to Clinical Practice

James Francescangeli, Kunal Karamchandani, Meghan Powell, Anthony Bonavia
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2019 May 9, 20 (9)
The serotonin syndrome is a medication-induced condition resulting from serotonergic hyperactivity, usually involving antidepressant medications. As the number of patients experiencing medically-treated major depressive disorder increases, so does the population at risk for experiencing serotonin syndrome. Excessive synaptic stimulation of 5-HT2A receptors results in autonomic and neuromuscular aberrations with potentially life-threatening consequences. In this review, we will outline the molecular basis of the disease and describe how pharmacologic agents that are in common clinical use can interfere with normal serotonergic pathways to result in a potentially fatal outcome. Given that serotonin syndrome can imitate other clinical conditions, an understanding of the molecular context of this condition is essential for its detection and in order to prevent rapid clinical deterioration.

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