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Florencesdaughter: Moms severe serotonin syndrome


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I have been searching the internet for a while looking for people who had a hospitalization from serotonin syndrome. I am so glad I found your site! Most search results do not indicate the horrible nightmare she lived through so I'd like to tell her story.


She lived with fibromyalgia for 20 years and maintained a good quality of life taking paxil for pain management.It never stopped her from being very active in life. Suddenly paxil quit workingl and Mom was in constant pain 24/7. She started the merry go round of different drugs looking for relief during which she began having depression along with the fibro.


Two years of struggling and she ended up on cymbalta and Tramadol .Strange things started happening with our Mom including-

started having tremendous abdominal pain, hand tremors, and some mental confusion which us kids noticed, but wondered if it was age related dementia. Numerous trips to ER from stomach pain spanned several months. Mom would state it was worse than birthing 3 kids. At 73 years of age Mom had never been to ER nor stayed in the hospital except for childbirth. Yet the docs starting acting strange- like she was psycho or seeking pain meds.


Finally last August a gastro doc admitted her to the hospital after seeing her in ER. A few days before, a doc said it was a colon problem although nothing showed on scan in the gut once admitted. Hospital gave Tramadol and other meds. Mom entered the hospital walking,talking and oriented. Within 48 hours, she was delirious, She didn't speak much, she did not close her eyes to sleep for 6 days.!! About two days into the stay, a psychiatrist was consulted by phone and he immediately knew she had SS and said to pull the meds. They cold turkey all her meds and didn't not give anything to help the SS like. She had to use a catheter/bed pan, when she began to speak it was in crazy riddles and she could not feed herself. Nobody wanted to discuss it was due to meds from her docs. Her GP even wanted to discharge to go home when she was totally out of it - like she had a stroke- could not even got to the toilet she was so weak. The family panicked at the thought of taking her home and made an appeal.She stayed two more days and transferred to a nursing home/rehab. The night she got transferred to a facility she had been in visiting other folks dozens of times she had to ask me where she was! Four days later she had a seizure and cardiac arrest even though she never showed in problems in the cardio testing the week before or prior physicals. They had to hit her with the paddles 3X and she was out for 11 minutes. Long story, short- she stayed in hosp 2 wks, then rehab a month and recovered remarkably well thru lots of PT.


6 months later she has foot pain which began with numbness in toes and now feels like her feet are on fire 24/7 and she also has a strange vertigo issue which she has been dealing with thru PT. Basically no quality of life between feet on fire and head dizziness/fuzziness. Most meds either make her loopy or bring on first symptoms of SS again. 


Finally found some relief from the neuro and head from ativan ..But just enough she can survive it.  We believe all this is result of damage done to her last fall from SS.  Has anyone had this severe reaction- delirium, having to learn how to walk, talk , hold a utensil?


We'd be grateful to hear from anyone surviving a disaster like Moms.




Edited by Karma
Added member name to topic; added paragraph breaks for readibility
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi FlorencesDaughter, What a horrific experience your mother had.. absolutely awful.  I am so sorry this happened to your family.  Alto, the site administrator is very knowledgeable and she will be along in a bit to give her opinion.. In the meantime, welcome to our forum.



As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.


Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.


Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.


Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin



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Hi florences daughter.I was wondering how much tramadol your mom was on. That's a very hard drug to come off of..Let alone not tapering. It took me a long time to come off that stuff and I wasn't on a bunch of it. I hope things get better for your mom..You can look up tramadol WD..It should be a scheduled drug but it's not here in Pa.

C/T Celexa and Trazadone on Jan.29th 2014
Prescribed 1mg of Klonopin every 6 hours on Jan.29th
Began tapering Klonopin April 18th..stretching time between doses...at first one hour for 2 weeks then a half hour for app.10 days then another half hour 10days later.
Presently at .25 three times a day..6 2 and 10pm. Trying to stabilize.
Also still taking gabapentin 300mgs 2xs a day..

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  • Administrator

Welcome, florencesdaughter.


I'm so sorry you're mother has gone through this. It sounds to me now like she might be suffering post-withdrawal syndrome from all of those drugs. Hypersensitivity to neuroactive drugs is common in people who's nervous system has been upset by precipitous withdrawal, there are many such cases here.


Many people here have had serious adverse effects from psychiatric drugs or combinations of drugs, but not as severe as cardiac arrest.


It's possible your mother was suffering from a drug-drug reaction that interfered with metabolism of one or more of the serotonergics she was taking, and this caused serotonin syndrome. Doctors are supposed to research drug-drug interactions before prescribing.


There's a drug interactions checker here http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html


I sincerely hope the best for your mother's recovery. It's a good sign she has been gradually doing better.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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