In order to understand what serotonin syndrome is, it mightbe helpful to explain first that serotonin is a chemical that is absolutelynecessary for our brain and nerve cells to function properly, and our body producesit. On the other side, there are certain medications, dietary supplements, andeven illegal drugs that can increase the amount of serotonin in our body ifthey are used in the dosage that exceeds the recommended, and this is never agood thing, because it will lead to the serotonin syndrome, which can even belife-threatening.
Also, it is important to mention that, for example, ifantidepressants have caused the serotonin syndrome, in such cases, even weekswill have to pass before the condition is finally treated, because these medicationstend to stay in the body system much longer than any others. Problems that may be experienced under such circumstancesinclude fast heartbeat, nausea, headaches, changes in the blood pressure, and vomiting. Also, the person may begin to sweat more, the body temperature maybecome higher than normal, and he or she may even experience severe hallucinationsand problems with muscles and coordination.
Treatment ofserotonin syndrome
As for the treatment of serotonin syndrome, it is important toknow that all the symptoms should go away approximately 24 hours after the use ofmedications has been stopped, but it is necessary to take the medication thatwill block the production of serotonin. Still, it does not mean that it isenough to quit taking the medicines if the symptoms occur, because some casesmay be very severe and they may have fatal consequences if medical help is notprovided. So, if the person loses consciousness, if fever is too high, or ifseizures are experienced, those are all signs that indicate that immediatemedical help and hospitalization are necessary. Even the cases in which thesymptoms are not that serious should be reported to the doctor, just in case. However, the doctor is the one who will be able to estimatewhat kind of the treatment is required in each particular case, and whether thetreatment is required at all. Depending on that, the doctor may choose between:muscle relaxants, which help in keeping the seizures andstiffness of muscles under control;medications that block the production of serotonin;therapy with oxygen and/or intravenous fluids, which arehelpful in cases of fever and dehydration;medications that will keep blood pressure and heart rateunder control, particularly if they are increased.