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Two cases of mild serotonin toxicity via 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A receptor stimulation

Authors Nakayama H, Umeda S, Nibuya M, Terao T, Nisijima K, Nomura S

Received 4 December 2013

Accepted for publication 3 January 2014

Published 11 February 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 283—287


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Hiroto Nakayama,1,* Sumiyo Umeda,2,* Masashi Nibuya,3 Takeshi Terao,4 Koichi Nisijima,5 Soichiro Nomura3

1Yamaguchi Prefecture Mental Health Medical Center, Yamaguchi, Japan; 2Department of Psychiatry, NTT West Osaka Hospital, Osaka, Japan; 3Department of Psychiatry, National Defense Medical College, Saitama, Japan; 4Department of Neuropsychiatry, Oita University Faculty of Medicine, Oita, Japan; 5Department of Psychiatry, Jichi University School of Medicine, Tochigi, Japan
*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: We propose the possibility of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)1A receptor involvement in mild serotonin toxicity. A 64-year-old woman who experienced hallucinations was treated with perospirone (8 mg/day). She also complained of depressed mood and was prescribed paroxetine (10 mg/day). She exhibited finger tremors, sweating, coarse shivering, hyperactive knee jerks, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia, and psychomotor agitation. After the discontinuation of paroxetine and perospirone, the symptoms disappeared. Another 81-year-old woman, who experienced delusions, was treated with perospirone (8 mg/day). Depressive symptoms appeared and paroxetine (10 mg/day) was added. She exhibited tachycardia, finger tremors, anxiety, agitation, and hyperactive knee jerks. The symptoms disappeared after the cessation of paroxetine and perospirone. Recently, the effectiveness of coadministrating 5-HT1A agonistic psychotropics with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has been reported, and SSRIs with 5-HT1A agonistic activity have been newly approved in the treatment of depression. Perospirone is a serotonin–dopamine antagonist and agonistic on the 5-HT1A receptors. Animal studies have indicated that mild serotonin excess induces low body temperature through 5-HT1A, whereas severe serotonin excess induces high body temperature through 5-HT2A activation. Therefore, it could be hypothesized that mild serotonin excess induces side effects through 5-HT1A, and severe serotonin excess induces lethal side effects with hyperthermia through 5-HT2A. Serotonin toxicity via a low dose of paroxetine that is coadministered with perospirone, which acts agonistically on the 5-HT1A receptor and antagonistically on the 5-HT2A receptor, clearly indicated 5-HT1A receptor involvement in mild serotonin toxicity. Careful measures should be adopted to avoid serotonin toxicity following the combined use of SSRIs and 5-HT1A agonists.

Keywords: serotonin toxicity, 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, paroxetine, perospirone

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