The serotonin syndrome: From molecular mechanisms to clinical practice

James Francescangeli, Kunal Karamchandani, Meghan Powell, Anthony Bonavia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2288
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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