Navigation Links
Migraine Medications May Cause 'Serotonin Syndrome'

Rare disorder can lead to muscle spasms, fever, sweating and nausea, study finds

WEDNESDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- A commonly used migraine medication may cause so-called serotonin syndrome in rare cases, new research suggests.

Reporting in the May 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Georgetown University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration detail 11 cases of serotonin syndrome associated with the use of triptans alone that were reported to the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS).

"The FDA has already issued an advisory and an alert that when triptans are used in combination with SSRIs, there is a possibility of serotonin syndrome. The news here is that it doesn't have to be in combination, triptans alone can cause serotonin syndrome," said the study's lead author, Offie Soldin, an associate professor of medicine and oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when there is too much of the neurotransmitter serotonin, often because more than one medication that affects serotonin levels has been taken, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include mental status changes, overactive reflexes, muscle spasms, fever, uncoordinated movements, heavy sweating and nausea or vomiting.

People with migraine headaches may be especially at risk, because medications taken to prevent migraines from occurring -- such as Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro and Prozac -- are from a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and they make serotonin more available in brain cells, called neurons. Additionally, the medications used to treat an oncoming or active migraine, such as Imitrex, Zomig, Frova, Maxalt and Axert, are from a class of medications known as triptans, which are selective serotonin receptor agonists, and can also make serotonin more available in your body. Other medications, such as older antidepressants, can also increase the levels of serotonin.

Serotonin syndrome is most likely to occur when you've just started serotonin-altering medications, according to the NIH.

Soldin and Dr. Joseph Tonning from the FDA, reviewed reports of serotonin syndrome from the AERS and found 27 cases of serotonin syndrome linked to the use of SSRIs and triptans.

The surprise for them was when they also found 11 cases of serotonin syndrome associated with triptan therapy alone.

The average age for someone experiencing serotonin syndrome associated only with triptan therapy was 39.9 years, and the most common symptoms included tremor, stiffness, palpitations, high blood pressure and agitation, according to the study.

Five people required hospitalization, and two cases were classified as "life-threatening." Four of the 11 cases cleared up within an hour of treatment.

"It's very rare and not likely to happen," said Soldin of serotonin syndrome. "And, you just need to stop taking the drugs when it does happen. If you're taking these medications and you have strange muscular, mental or hyperactivity symptoms, contact your doctor."

But, Soldin also pointed out that the FDA's reporting system is voluntary, so the actual incidence of serotonin syndrome may be higher.

Dr. Bruce Silverman, a neurologist at Providence Hospital and Medical Center in Southfield, Mich., said, "This is something to be aware of, but it's not a contraindication for triptans. These are very common drugs that have really improved people's lives, and so, many people are on these medications."

"The potential for this problem to occur is out there, but the numbers we've seen are really, really quite small; it's such a remote possibility," he added.

More information

To learn more about serotonin syndrome, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Offie Soldin, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, oncology and physiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington D.C.; Bruce Silverman, D.O., neurologist, Providence Hospital and Medical Center, Southfield, Mich.; May 15, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Neuromuscular Dentistry Ends Womans Migraines
2. Migraine Tied to Thickening in Brain Area
3. Business Coalition Honors BlueChoice HealthPlan for Migraine Program
4. The HealthCentral Network Wins eHealthcare Awards for Breast Cancer and Migraine Web Sites
5. MAP Pharmaceuticals Reaches Agreement with FDA on Special Protocol Assessment for MAP0004 Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Patients With Migraine
6. Comatose locusts may help relieve migraines
7. Epilepsy Drug Doesnt Prevent Migraines
8. and Migraine Expert Teri Robert Announce Seventh Annual Migraine and Headache Poetry Contest
9. Migraines Frequency Influences Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
10. Overuse of Opioids, Barbiturates Boosts Chronic Migraine Risk
11. Skin Pain, Sensitivity Rises With Migraine
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... private messaging application, announced today a significant contract that will provide its award-winning ... plans to build on the growing success of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... e-con Systems Inc., a leading embedded design services company ... industry’s first RGB-IR pixel format camera with a USB 3.0 interface and e-CAM40_CUMI4682_MOD, ... of UVC USB 3.0 cameras, is based on the 1/3-inch OV4682 - a 4-megapixel ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... A child without ... why SmileCareClub , the leading remote invisible aligner system, has joined with ... otherwise go without it. For each aligner treatment plan purchased, SmileCareClub will donate one ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... Protein is ... the body, including muscle, bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average ... than it might seem, according to the October 2015 issue of Harvard Men's ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... targets the unique health needs of new moms. Postnatal Omega-3, which has ... ), utilizes Nordic Naturals’ exclusive, new, ultra-concentrated omega-3 oil. This breakthrough ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... LA JOLLA, Calif. , Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... to revolutionize the practice of medicine, announced today the ... powered clinical research project that has the potential to ... San Diego, CA , at HLI,s ... open in 2016 in other US and International cities. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... PARK, Calif. , Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of up to $100 million over five years ... Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of ... or treat acute or delayed effects of radiation ... , a division of SRI International will provide ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... MILFORD, Mass. , Oct. 13, 2015  SeraCare ... diagnostics manufacturers, announced today that the company,s precision medicine ... growing line of reference materials for next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based ... Mutation Mix-I (AF1-10) contains the same mixture of mutations ... the previously launched AF20 mix , but is ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: