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I Nearly Lost My Husband to Serotonin Syndrome, Twice

http://www.nutramed.com/brain/neurotransmitters_serotonin.htm

It is so VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW YOUR MEDICATION!!

**********************************

Last week I nearly lost my husband.

Again.

I always dread when the doctors change his medicine. For some reason, despite the fact they document every medication you take each and every time you go into the office, they just don’t seem to take the time to go over those medications in order to check for interactions when prescribing new ones.

I should know better.

Back in 2006, my husband started taking a new medication in conjunction with his migraine medication and an over the counter sleep aid called Melatonin. On top of those medications, he was already on some heavy-duty stuff for his chronic pain as well. But the interaction came between his new medication, his migraine medicine, and the melatonin.

A relatively new syndrome had caught the FDA’s eye, but hadn’t trickled down to the medical community just yet, called Serotonin Syndrome. The Mayo Clinic defines Serotonin Syndrome as:

Serotonin syndrome occurs when you take medications that cause high levels of the chemical serotonin to accumulate in your body. Serotonin syndrome can occur when you increase the dose of such a drug or add a new drug to your regimen. Certain illicit drugs and dietary supplements are also associated with serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin is a chemical your body produces that’s needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. But too much serotonin causes symptoms that can range from mild — shivering and diarrhea — to severe — muscle rigidity, fever and seizures. Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal if not treated.

Milder forms of serotonin syndrome may go away within a day of stopping the medications causing symptoms and, sometimes, taking drugs that block serotonin.

The first time this happened, we had no clue what was going on. My husband would fall asleep mid-sentence, he couldn’t stay awake most of the day. I blamed the new medication. I thought it was turning him into my image of what a strung out drug addict looked like. I hated it. It wasn’t until I came home one day from work and my son, then 5 years old, was wandering around our front yard and my husband was leaning up against a tree. I didn’t understand. I tried to talk to him. I tried to get him in the house. But there was no response. I literally had to drag him inside. But he tripped over the steps and fell into me, then onto the foyer floor. And that’s where he lay. I couldn’t wake him. I couldn’t lift him to get him to go to bed. I felt horrible for just leaving him there. And I felt like a <insert bad word here> for thinking he was “strung out.”

I called his prescribing doctor and got him an appointment the next day.

That’s when we found out about Serotonin Poisoning. It was something the FDA had recently caught wind of. Do you remember the problems surrounding a lot of the “lose weight” drugs, or Prozac, and such? All that revolved around this dangerous level of serotonin.  His doctor told us he was on the verge of dying. Had I not gotten him in when I did, I could very well have lost him. Though, really, I should have called an ambulance and had him in the ER. I beat myself up over that every day. But, we just didn’t know about this back then.

Now…I dread when the doctors say, “Let’s try this new medication.”

DREAD!

I am usually diligent about going through all his medications, listing them, keeping track of them, reading up about all their side-effects, and since that fateful day against the tree, going to a site that will list the possible interactions with each drug. Including over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. I am even leery about any “home remedy” or homeopathic anything because there is no way for me to check the interactions. I have a dear friend who tries so hard to help. She totally believes in essential oils, but I just can’t trust them. I hope she understands.

My husband has been taking his medication “cocktail” now for a few years. Last month, he went to see the doctor about the complications he’s been having with one of the stronger medications and had been considering coming off it, even if it made the pain worse. He wanted to see what would happen. But the doctor gave him a new prescription, new hope for relief.

I did my usual and memorized the side-effects and kept an eye on him to make sure everything went ok. I did not check the interactions. 🙁

Around Thanksgiving he was nauseous and feverish.  We thought it was the flu. He said it felt like the flu. But then it didn’t go away after a few weeks. In fact, it got worse. The pain. The nauseous. Feverish. Chills & sweats. Muscle twitching. Unable to think. Unable to eat. Unable to sleep.

After 4 days of him not being able to get out of bed and not sleeping at all, we discussed the possibilities. I couldn’t understand why it would take this long to “have a reaction” to the new medicine. And then it dawned on us, “what if it were building up toxins in his body?” And that’s when it hit me. I didn’t check the interactions with his existing medications.

But you trust that the doctors would do that before they prescribe you a new medicine, right? I mean, every time you go into the office they always ask you to list all your medicines. Heck, due to the new laws here in Florida, he has to bring in all his bottles and the staff have to count every stinking pill. So, you just take it for granted, I guess, that they would know. That they would check before prescribing.

But you know what happens when you assume.

And, I nearly lost him again.

Serotonin syndrome symptoms typically occur within several hours of taking a new drug or increasing the dose of a drug you’re already taking. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles
  • Heavy sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Shivering
  • Goose bumps

Severe serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness

When to see a doctor
If you suspect you might have serotonin syndrome after starting a new drug or increasing the dose of a drug you’re already taking, call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room. If you have severe or rapidly worsening symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Luckily, though, we caught it before it got as bad as last time. He stopped taking his new medicine. We had no idea how long it takes for your body to go back to normal serotonin levels. From what I can understand it’s all dependent on your body chemistry.  We just had to ride it out. He was one step away from the final stages again.

One more thing to add to this, he had stopped taking one of his anti-depressants. All he remembered the doctor telling him was that this pill will help him wake up. So he stopped, cold turkey, because he wanted so desperately to go to sleep. When I told him it was an anti-depressant, he got really scared again. To stop an anti-depressant cold turkey is dangerous. You could die. So please, please, if you are on one, don’t ever do that. Once we got him back on that medicine, and got him to stop the new pain medication, things started getting so much better. Over the weekend, he’s been up and about, eating a little, feeling back to his old self, without the “OMG MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE” headache. Now it’s back to the normal pain he always feels. We even managed to do a few errands. I have my husband back!

The stress of the last few months has been overwhelming. I am doing my best to get through it.

Thank you for listening to me ramble. I’m sorry. It is my only way to vent and get this out. Plus, maybe it will help others know the signs of Serotonin Syndrome and help save a life.

Always, ALWAYS, check your medications. Do NOT take your doctor for granted. And never, EVER, stop taking your anti-depressants cold turkey!

LadyJai

57 Comments

  1. Comment by Mjl:

    Mjl on April 5, 2017 at 16:30
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Hi can you tell me what is considered a high seratonin syndrome level with a blood draw. Having trouble finding a G.P that even gets my symptoms. My level is 420!

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      I’m not a doctor but from what google says, The normal range is 101-283 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories.
      I would definitely see a physician. Maybe try to find a neurologist as they deal a lot with serotonin affects from medication.

  2. Comment by shaz:

    Can you have serotonin syndrome for years without realising it? I am taking citalopram, amitriptyline, cocodamol and tramadol all together and recently has some neuro tests where it was discovered I have brisk reflexes, positive Hoffman’s and clonus all indicating something quite serious. At first I was thinking MS or MND, then saw the serotonin syndrome and connected it with my meds and all of my symptoms.

  3. Comment by Karin:

    I also suffered ss muscle twitching inability to eat sleep. Heart rate in 130. Took clonidine 0.1 to 0.3 to lower my heart rate. It is contraindicated with ss. So is Buspar which was prescribed by the psychologist.I lost 20 or more pounds and ended up in the ER.ZI. I had stopped taking the Celexa and Remer on but it took me months. I now how continously tinnitus and my left Hand still shakes. I do not go out easily and am no longer interested in my pottery passion. It will be 3 years this March. Will I ever get better?

  4. Comment by Rebecxa:

    Just recovering from this mysel. I was fortunate to have a doctor who recognized it as it is quite rare and very often mis- diagnosed.. My symptoms were classic and he said he wished he had a room full of interns to witness it. My best to you and your husband. For myself, I have sworn off pharmaceuticals. Mine was brought on by a reaction to one drug – zoloft. A near death experience and now almost 2 months of trying to detox my body of a very normal drug that almost killed me.

  5. Comment by A scared daughter:

    Hi,

    I am just a little worried and wanted some advice. He has been on more medication then a dying man of cancer for years. My Dad has had serotonin syndrome for about 5 months now. He is seeing things, hearing mean voices, he has bad anxiety and it’s just not my Dad. I want him back. It is very scary to see him like that. They are not doing anything about the serotonin syndrome. Is it something that will go away on its own? He has been in the hospital for 2 months due to other issues such as Chron’s and Colitis. The doctor gave him drugs for Chron’s and Colitis pain, and I saw that it caused him to take only 5 inhales in one minute (in his sleep). When I told the nurses, they gave my Dad crap for taking all those meds that the Doctor gave him. Isn’t this ridiculous?? This Doctor is awful and since she is his Doctor, other doctors won’t look at my Dad’s case. I am worried and I am wondering what I can do. Is there such place as a pain clinic? Where they can take a look at all of his meds and his condition and help him? He wants to stop taking so much pills. And I want him back. He is suffering from extreme pain physically and emotionally and I’m devastated. I might not of explained it properly cause too many things happened and i cant explain it all on here.. Any help is appreciated.

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      Serotonin Syndrome does not get better with time while anyone is taking the medications that have caused it. I would suggest for him to stop the medications and find another doctor who is aware of this syndrome because the end result is not good.

  6. Comment by Mina:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am permanently disabled because of serotonin syndrome. At least I have never fully recovered. It happened to me in August of 2009, from Cymbalta. All it took was one 60mg pill because I had a previously undiagnosed serotonin sensitivity. We did not know what was happening either. I almost died. I did get the right doctor and the right mixture of medications to counter the damage the serotonin poisoning did to my brain, but it took a long time to be able to even leave the house without my husband. Some people recover, others like me are left with permanent damage. My brain no longer has enough receptors for serotonin. I obsessively check all new medications for the possibility of serotonin syndrome because most doctors don’t even know what it is. I can’t believe your husband went through it twice! Hope he is able to fully recover.

  7. Comment by Lisa:

    Hi! Did your husband recover ok from serotonin syndrome?

  8. Comment by Ricky:

    How’s your husband doing? Is he still on his meds?

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      This was several years ago. We have changed up his medications again. We are in the midst of other battles too. I have since created a different blog just to address the struggles of a veteran caregiver here: http://caringforaveteran.wordpress.com
      But we are always wary of new medications. Thank you for asking. <3

      • Comment by Ricky:

        What has he been doing to combat the symptoms? Does he suffer from erectile dysfunction? Is he getting better? Does he have lack of sweating? Do you think he will ever get better?

    • Comment by TeeMc:

      Hi, all
      I need help. My husband was diagnosed with Serotonin Syndrome in March 2016. He is still having issue with speech and thought prosess along with other issues. We live in Southern Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky is only a few miles from us. We cannot find a Doctor that treats someone with Serotonin Syndrome.
      If you have any information please, please send.
      Also, I have read a lot of information regarding Serotonin Syndrome, however nothing on lasting effects.
      What are the lasting effects?

      • Comment by LadyJai:

        I’m sorry I do not know the lasting effects of SS. However, I do know that it’s easier to get again, once you’ve already had it. That’s why we have had it twice now. It comes on quicker and can be more dangerous I fear, especially if you aren’t paying attention to the drug facts.

  9. Comment by Knighthawk:

    Thanks for the post, I experienced the worst migraine of my life since Friday night with nausea and vomiting, fever, unable to concentrate. I’ve been taking citalopram and clonazepam for years, and my doctor just started me on tramadol a month ago for chronic pain. I knew something had to be the cause of me being this sick, I didn’t even think about the new meds. In fact, I took it for the headache 2x yesterday…. I feel dumb, but now I know. I’ll call my doc in the morning and see what he thinks and I’ll stop the tramadol until I get a clear answer.
    Thank you again.

  10. Comment by KC:

    Serotonin syndrome is not new to the medical community, whatsoever.

  11. Comment by elvira:

    No one is warning about it. I had to learn hard way. Almost lost my life twice. It is so bad that I must avoid food that contains a lot of triptophan. (Elevates serotonin level). The last incident was with kale chips with chia seeds. Later on I found out that chia contains a lot of it. HTP-5 or GABA can also kill me, just slower. Absolutely no antidepressants allowed. Not a single minimum dose pill. No herbs elevating serotonin, like St.John’s wort.
    Looks that doctors don’t know much about it. You have to educate yourself. I had many tries and errors. I am very, very careful now with what I eat or drink. I don’t know what else to do about it. Any advice?

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      I believe you are doing everything right, Elvira. You are looking out for yourself, researching and keeping up with ingredients and the like. It’s all we can do because the doctors and pharmacies are not.

    • Comment by Lisa:

      What’s your reaction if you eat foods that elevate serotonin?

  12. Comment by Kelly:

    I have some questions if someone could please help me… my cousin was hospitalized 3 days ago with serotonin syndrome… he is hallucinating not sleeping he is like he is in another world… his words make no sense he is not eating today they are putting a tube in to feed him and he has no idea what is going on around him… he had ripped out all his iv and catheter and now they have him in restraints… he has shown no signs of improving… is it too late for him? Does anyone know about it when it gets this bad? All i can find is stuff about when you catch it early… please help!

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      I wish your cousin the best. He is in my prayers. The only thing I know about my situation is that if I had let my husband go for another hour or two he would have died. Detection and treatment early only means you beat death. So I am hoping that since you caught it and got him to the doctors that he will come out of it. It may take a little more time. The longer they go with the toxins in their body, the longer it takes to get it all out. *hugs*

  13. Ping from Serotonin Syndrome: What is it? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | UnDepress:

    […] 7. http://writebackwards.we3dements.com/wordpress/2012/12/13/i-nearly-lost-my-husband-to-serotonin-synd… […]

  14. Comment by Ms. Paula:

    Does anyone has anything good to say about Lexapro? I have been given this new med today for Anxiety/Depression what shall I do?

    • Comment by Lynda:

      Personally I wouldn’t take Lexapro as I am quite sure it was the beginning of my road through hell. I thought I had been keeping up on the meds I was taking making sure there were no new developments. I realized my chronic pain exacerbated as shortly after beginning the med I was in really bad pain and it exacerbated my suicide thoughts and tried many times to cut my wrists but I could never find a sharp enough knife. Also, I’d probably draw a little blood and pass out. I took a hydrocodone and fell asleep. The next day I had an appointment and my MD came in and asked how I was doing and I responded ‘at least I’m not in the morgue’. At first he thought I was being facetious then he realized I was telling the truth. He said to call him if I ever felt that way again. I know MDs say that if a patient reads the side effects they will therefore have the side effects. I let my body tell me what’s going on and don’t need a sheet of paper. After creating a spreadsheet of many years of meds (I’m a pack rat as I kept all the receipts from meds) I realized I had so many of the side effects from Lexapro. My daughter and another friend asked why I was doing things that were ‘out of character’ for me and I didn’t know what they meant. But I began thinking about all the side effects, feeling as though I had an intestinal flu, etc. and I strongly believe I was experiencing SS for 10+ years as there wasn’t a time when I wasn’t on just one serotonin-producing med. My dad was on Lexapro and was in the Nursing Home. He was an alcoholic so they let him have drinks. The two can cause Serotonin Syndrome and, depending on the dose of Lexapro it can cause serious heart problems. Also, I believe my mom had a similar episode as I went through her meds and checked online and she was experiencing so many side effects from all her meds. She made a comment of wanting to be dead as she felt very ill and she was immediately taken to the Behavioral Health and they got her meds switched and she was feeling better. She decided to go to the Nursing Home and gain weight and have her knee replaced again–9 months later she died. I’m not an expert in meds as I’m an Economist but since MDs and Psychiatrists weren’t figuring out my issues I did considerable research on the various meds and OTC meds, and illicit meds and if a person is prone to this condition they will have the SS side effects. If you would, please email me and in Subject Heading email me at lstevenson@itctel.com

  15. Comment by Nina:

    Thanks for sharing about serotonin syndrome. There is very little published on cases like your husband’s and mine. When you have a complicated grouping of diagnoses that physicians are treating based on their perspective to mitagate how to alleviate just their specific specialty’s symptoms, much can be overlooked. All my care (Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, Urology, Immunology, etc take place in a University Medical Center – where they can all see what others are doing despite my level of education and due dillagence in advocating strongly as a participant in my health care plan, I now am facing a storm from developing serotonin syndrome.

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      Thank you for reading. I only want to educate people about this possible life threatening illness. It’s relatively new, but they are now warnings on the drug interaction sites. But what it does, is not entirely listed. It’s scary. I do hope you keep yourself and your husband safe.

      • Comment by Lynda Stevenson:

        If you read my comment you will find that this condition was detected back in 1985. It’s not a new condition. And it discerning that an article I read (time frames were ambiguous) but the amount of SSRIs prescribed increased by 400%–scary!!!!!!

    • Comment by Lynda Stevenson:

      I had to diagnose myself with Serotonin Syndrome. I had one MD who suspected I had the condition but took the test and it came back negative. His arrogance preceded him as he didn’t know enough about the condition that the test will only come back is if it is Serotonin Toxicity which is fatal. Also, I informed him I had so much diahrrea and asked if taking a lot of Immodium AD was O.K. and he said yes. Another sign of Serotonin Syndrome. During this same time I had a psychiatrist take me off Valium cold-turkey and went into severe benzo withdrawals and severe insomnia (still struggling with insomnia). I laid in bed day after day after night getting 0-3 hours of sleep and at times would go 2-5 nights without sleep. Since I couldn’t concentrate on bookwork I began researching via my cell phone and realized I HAD been experiencing Serotonin Syndrome and the first time I was hospitalized in 2007 with all the symptoms and the MD said my fibromyalgia can cause strange symptoms and he said I was constipiated–I knew I wasn’t constipated as I’m in tune with my body. I looked at the MD with his diagnosis prior to be released with utter disgust. I had several MD appts. to no avail, several visits to the ER only to be told it was anxiety, my fibromyalgia, constipation (NOT), withdrawal of a low dose of benzo I had been on for two weeks. I was hospitalized 6 times for suicidal thoughts brought on by the meds and sleep deprivation. I would awake in the middle of the night with my heart racing to 100+ BPM and the nurse said it was my anxiety and I tried to explain to them several times I NEVER had that happen to me in the past. I have a mitral valve prolapse which causes tachycardia episodes and take a low dose of a beta blocker to curtail the episodes and NEVER had one of those during the night. Also my blood pressure was all over the charts and was told it was my anxiety and tried telling the staff I’ve ALWAYS had a blood pressure on the low side of normal. Then I went and researched benzo withdrawals and tried to inform my psychiatrist that I didn’t want Valium but my body needed it but he refused to give me any benzos and when a person does go off a Serotonin-producing product they have to be given a benzo or it causes ‘brain tics’, which I experienced and landed in the ER at MAYO but they called my MD and said I was a benzo abuser–long story but my pharmacist said what happened by the psychiatrist bordered ethical boundaries as he refused to prescribe Valium and put me on 1mg of Lorazepam and I unintentially took 2 mg. None of the MDs or psychiatrists know their drug equivalencies as the pharmacist said the amount of valium I had been taking the psychiatrist should have prescribed 3 mg of Lorazepam. Unfortunately I got into the psych world bc my psychologist suspected I had ADHD and I found a psychiatrist who did indeed diagnose me with ADHD and anxiety. He’s the only psychiatrist I trust but works only inpatient. I WILL NEVER see another psychiatrist. I’ve done extensive research on Serotonin Syndrome and the first person known to have died from this condition was an 18-year old woman attending college and went to the ER with severe flu-like symptoms in 1985. She said she was on an anti-depressant and admitted using cocaine–this combination can cause serotonin syndrome. Her RA fell asleep as they were working 80 hour weeks. By the time someone checked on Libby Zion her temperature was 107 degrees, flailing in her bed in excruciating pain and they bound her to the bed and gave her an injection of a narcotic pain med and killed her instantly. In 2004 an article indicated that only 15% of MDs were aware of Serotonin Syndrome and over 8,000 people had the symptoms and over 200 died. I wonder how many people such as myself went undiagnosed with the condition and how many people died under the other 85% of MDs. After all my research I began asking several medical personnel who should know about the condition and 99.9% had never heard of the condition or heard of it but didn’t know what it entailed. This is 30 years the first person died of the condition. I contacted the AMA and asked why medical professionals were not aware of the condition and they said it took time to get the information out and I responded “30 years”? After all my research and thinking back on when I got on an anti depressant for mild depression (mostly PTSD) and anxiety and then other meds that were prescribed because I had troubles sleeping (which this med said it can cause sleep issues) and I explained the symptoms I was having and was told the med would not cause my symptoms. Fortunately I found a small-town MD who has been working with me and my knowledge. He never saw me when I was experiencing my symptoms but he gave me the benefit of the doubt given the long list of serotonin-producing meds for which I had side effects. But I realized I had been experiencing this condition at varying degrees for over 10 years. MDs began thinking I was psychosomatic, if I read the side-effects I would therefore have the side-effects. I let my body tell me what’s going on not a piece of paper. I had planned on writing an article to a large city paper about the condition but hearing the FDA has FINALLY gotten this information out to MDs hopefully those of us who have experienced the condition or had loved ones with the condition will finally be acknowledged that we did have Serotonin Syndrome. I even experienced muscle rigidity which can/is fatal as the muscle tissue breaks down and sends it to the kidneys and the kidneys cannot flush this out. I donated one of my kidneys to my late brother, Steven, so I had considerable concerns. I was laying in bed and shortly after weaning off Lexapro and then put back on the med the last night I took the med my muscles were so tight I couldn’t relax and it felt as though if I would move my spine would crumble.

      • Comment by LadyJai:

        I am so sorry you, or anyone, had to go through this. We must educate the people. That’s why I posted this. Thank you for sharing and I hope you are doing well.
        Jai

      • Comment by Lynda:

        The MDs listed in this article are different MDs and Psychiatrists. Also, my MD didn’t actually give me the benefit of the doubt as I saw a PA first and she allowed me to have Valium again and the MD did notice that I knew my body and pro-active in my health. Also, I’m still struggling with insomnia. My sleep is slowly getting better after 5 years of insomnia. The insomnia caused my short term memory to be compromised.

    • Comment by Lynda Stevenson:

      I forgot to mention that I learned that 80-90% of serotonin is in the digestive tract. When my symptoms were at there worst I felt as though I was in labor or worse.

    • Comment by Lynda Stevenson:

      One more thing is a person can have serotonin syndrome if taking a serotonin-producing product and the dose is increased, or by taking some prescribed and OTC cough medicines, some alpha and beta blockers, some anti-nausea meds prescribed after surgery, etc. and of course ALL ILLICIT DRUGS!!!

  16. Comment by Jason J:

    OMG I am so happy to not be alone, but unlike you. I nearly lost myself! I was prescribed about 2 years ago Citalopram for depression though I have PTSD I told the psychologist that I didn’t need an antidepressant. He insured me they were nothing serious, no side effects and one day you won’t need them anymore. So a few months ago I opted to stop them as my personal life has gotten much better. I am on enbrel and assumed as your husband did, that I had the flu. Not until yesterday, when I googled my symptoms did I realize the antidepressants were killing me!!! This explains so much that has been happening to me that I choked up to the arthritis condition I have. Now I know I could have died! I had it all the seizures, sweats, cold, sleepiness, itching, head spinning, muscles giving out. I took one of the pills on Sunday automatically started feeling better until yesterday. Now I know!! I have picked up st johns wort, I am taking this as I feel the symptoms progress and I will slowly ween myself off this. I cannot believe that a doctor almost killed me! My mother has been taking it for 6 years and along with migraine medications, I told her stop! Start cutting it way down. Check my site, I put a post on there and my facebook I want others to know! I see the psychologist on Feb 4th and let me tell you I am going to tell him off big time!! Oh and I can’t see my doctor, as there are only 2 doctors and they are booked full….the receptionist insured me that I was just reading into to much, that the internet always makes things worse then they are! Now I am paranoid to what I have been doing to my brain! I am on medical marijuana as well, and this I personally believe is helping me cope with the new found disease I got from a person I was suppose to have trust in!!
    Jason J recently posted…Beware Antidepressants!!!My Profile

    • Comment by Lynda:

      I am very sorry to hear of your plight. This has to stop. I’ve tried many lawyers to see if I had a case and many were very rude with a resounding “NO”, others were more matter of the fact but it still comes down to where are the patient’s rights. There is an advertisement on TV by a law firm telling former football players to talk to their firm as they can get money for their injuries. I know many received tragic injuries but they knew of the potential risks. I was NEVER warned about Serotonin Syndrome and and the FDA, whom I spoke to a few weeks ago, said doctors and pharmacists are suppose to warn patients about the condition. I lost 10 years of my life and almost my life. However, we’re cast aside as we, the patients, took the very med the doctor prescribed and we have serious side effects and there’s absolutely no recourse. I’m utterly disgusted with the judicial system and attorneys. They won’t accept the case if one hasn’t died. Also, the attorneys won’t take the case because they won’t make a million dollars even though we have a viable case. I’m curious if anyone has tried to sue their doctors–please respond.

    • Comment by Lynda:

      If you wouldn’t mind, can you email me at lstevenson@itctel.com.

    • Comment by Lisa:

      Jason- Are u doing better now?

  17. Comment by Laura:

    Do not take your doctor for granted? The doctor who is the one that is not checking the drug interactions and nearly killing your husband. Not to mention that no flags are being raised by the pharmacist who is filling the meds!! Get a new doctor. My mother almost died from this after cancer surgery. The cancer wasn’t going to kill her but the laziest of our medical professionals almost did. Do not thank your DOCTOR. You only have yourself to count on!

    • Comment by Lynda Stevenson:

      Exactly, TRUST YOURSELF/INSTINCTS!!!

      • Comment by Lynda:

        Not related to Serotonin Syndrome but if you have been on valium for an extended period of time and your medical professional wants to take you off it cold-turkey–Do as the cartoon character “Snagglepuss” said “Exit, stage left” as fast as you can and find another MD as it can kill you or have suicidal ideations, cause you to have seizures and can bring on severe PTSD and when such a person as myself already have PTSD along with the Serotonin Syndrome–I laid in bed pleading for God to take me as the symptoms between the two were so unbearable and I was even hallucinating. I went about 4 years getting about 0-3 hours of sleep. At times I would go 3-5 days without sleep. I literally had to diagnose myself and thank God everyday that He gave me the love for research.

      • Comment by Lynda:

        The MDs listed in this article are different MDs and Psychiatrists. Also, my MD didn’t actually give me the benefit of the doubt as I saw a PA first and she allowed me to have Valium again and the MD did notice that I knew my body and pro-active in my health. Also, I’m still struggling with insomnia. My sleep is slowly getting better after 5 years of insomnia. The insomnia caused my short term memory to be compromised.

  18. Ping from Fear | Caring for My Veteran:

    […] a while back, the last time we experienced it. It’s definitely not pretty. I do hope you will read it, just to know the warning signs–especially if you take migraine medication (triptans) and any […]

  19. Comment by Jennifer:

    Hi, I have been tried on numerous antidepressants along with HRT and it’s got to when I try to take anything it agitated me, I feel neauseated, can’t sleep, and a weird feeling in my head. Could this be seratonin syndrome? I’m having trouble getting a Dr to listen to me!

    • Comment by LadyJai:

      I’m not a doctor and I cannot give you any medical advice. All I can suggest is that if you think you may have serotonin syndrome, check your drug interactions (there are many online resources to do this), check the symptoms, print them out and take it to your doctor. If that doctor won’t listen, maybe you need a second opinion. This is something you really don’t want to wait on because once you have suffered it, you are more likely to suffer it again and much quicker. Left untreated, it’s deadly. Please talk to your doctor.

      • Comment by Lynda:

        Not related to Serotonin Syndrome but if you have been on valium for an extended period of time and your medical professional wants to take you off it cold-turkey–Do as the cartoon character “Snagglepuss” said “Exit, stage left” as fast as you can and find another MD as it can kill you or have suicidal ideations, cause you to have seizures and can bring on severe PTSD and when such a person as myself already have PTSD along with the Serotonin Syndrome–I laid in bed pleading for God to take me as the symptoms between the two were so unbearable and I was even hallucinating. I went about 4 years getting about 0-3 hours of sleep. At times I would go 3-5 days without sleep. I literally had to diagnose myself and thank God everyday that He gave me the love for research.

  20. Comment by Lori:

    I used to work as a nurse and a have been taking a combination of medications for fibromyalgia and had severe profuse sweating for no reason fast heart rate etc, thinking was over active thyroid. I told the endocrinologist my medicine I carry a list of meds and my medical history with me. within a few short days of switching me from cymbalta to prozac I wound up in icu running at 180 beats a minute in a fib. I had tried many times over this past semester to find out what was wrong. in and out of the hospital missing college lectures.. It was the switch that almost killed me but solved the mystery thankfully the hospitalist figured it out after I go out of icu. now am weaning off the cymbalta. the dr that prescribed the combination of medicine didn’t want to see the information I brought had to look it up his self. am furoius

    • Comment by Lynda:

      I had all of those symptoms–perspiring profusely but then it switched where I was so cold my teeth were literally chattering. My heart beat would increase and beat very hard after I took the meds. I was in the ER several times and was told it was anxiety. When I informed my MD about perspiring profusely it was blamed on going through menopause. I’m glad the hospital figured it out. I, on the other hand, had an MD who suspected I had SS and ran a test an it came back negative. About a year later when my sleep deprivation was so bad I couldn’t work on bills, etc. so I laid in bed and researched Serotonin Syndrome and learned the only time the test comes back positive is if it is Serotonin Toxicity. So doctors still aren’t understanding the condition.

  21. Comment by yirenaimes:

    I took anti depressant (Paxil) on sept 2012. Just minutes after my first dose, I noticed some shakiness and informed my case manager about it. He said it may be psychological. As the day progress, I got very anxious and frightful. The next day, I took one again. This time, I felt extreme drowsiness and slept straight for 12 hours. Has weird dreams. Woke up feeling everything is unreal and no appetite. I was in a spaced out state. The suddenly, I felt hot flashes traveling all the way to my head, my heart starts to beat very fast, numbness at my extremeties, tremors, impending sense of doom (bad panic attacks). Went to A&E and they gave me clonazepam. Kept in hospital for few hours under observation. The doc told me is possible overdose of drug. I stopped taking but still experience much anxiety and clenching of teeth all day. Were ok for a few months before And got panic attacks all of a sudden again. Lost my appetite due to gastritis and some incidents make my anxiety soar. I only used to have social anxiety but now I’m stuck with panic attacks, anxiety, agoraphobia, hypochondria. I’m guessing the SS experience ‘unlocked’ a series of anxiety disorder in my brain. Right now I’m having much anxiety with palpitation…I really hope my post can help somebody experiencing the same thing. Don’t hesitate to go to the doctor if you think something is wrong. It’s always better to be on the safe side.

    If anything, feel free to email me. Yitiingl@gmail.com.

  22. Comment by Rebekah Loper:

    *hugs* God’s been bringing you to my mind a lot lately to pray for you, and now I know why. I’m so glad things didn’t turn out worse.

    And this just a reminder to me of why I take the effort to take care of my body now, because I never ever want to be on prescription meds.

  23. Comment by Chris Turner:

    Once the public at large becomes aware that the PROPER use of pharmaceutical drugs kills over 100,000 people each year in the US alone (review http://www.supplements-and-health.com/health-risks-dietary-supplements.html ), such events won’t be a surprise any longer. The more meds you take, the higher the risk of side effects, generally. Serotonin syndrome happens frequently by mixing antidepressants such as SSRIs. The medical industry has propagated the myth that serotonin is the substance of happiness when much evidence has shown that serotonin leads to brain dysfunction, seizures, inflammation, blood vessel constriction, metabolic disruption, muscle pain, and many other problems.

  24. Comment by M. Andrew Patterson (@DyadicEchoes):

    I’m so glad he is ok. That’s scary. My wife was put on a new med years ago for asthma and ended up with Serum Sickness. Her body swelled up painfully. Had to stop taking the meds. With the cocktail she’s on now, I get worried every time she gets a new dosage. Very scary.

  25. Comment by Angela Brown:

    It’s a good thing that you stay on top of things the way you do. Even if you don’t do all the steps, you are aware enough to watch for reactions, know what’s “normal” and what’s not and how to properly react when you see symptoms develop. You are lightspeed ahead of the game compared to millions of people.

    And you’re right. Shouldn’t take the doctor for granted. I’ve found my local pharmacist is also a helpful source for asking about possible reactions when combining medications. But the first step is to ask, which many of us don’t do.

    I’m glad things are starting to get settled, even a little 🙂

  26. Comment by Becca:

    I am so glad that your husband is okay, and so angry at that doctor for not doing basic checks on drug interactions. What would that doc have done if you weren’t so good at keeping yourself educated? He’s lucky you don’t sue for malpractice.

    All the HUGS in the world, hon. For you and your family.

  27. Comment by Leigh Caroline:

    *hugs so tight* I can so, so relate. Em got the shingles once (shitty immune system, she has one), and the doc we normally saw was out of town. The other woman at her practice didn’t check the drug ingredients against Em’s allergies, and the pill coating contained lactic acid derived from milk. Of course, we discover this after an Exorcist level puking spell in Barnes and Noble at a write in made me suspicious. Took over a week to get things back to normal. Needless to say, I started allergen checking every med before she even takes one after that. (Seriously, who would think there’s milk in some pills/coatings of them?)
    But you know, what? I wouldn’t trade this love for anything in the world. And if you ever need an ear, I have two empathetic ones.

  28. Comment by Lynn A. Davidson:

    I am so glad you are the smart woman you are, and I bet your husband is, too. I think I would be upset with the doctor, but you are learning as you go and helping others in the process.
    Blessings to you and your family for a wonderful Christmas.

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