• You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. 
  • All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible. They must be at least 100 words and supported by at least one source. Reply 1:

Based on the patient’s presentation and physical examination findings, the diagnosis, in this case, is serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an excess of serotonin in the central nervous system (Cleveland Clinic, 2022). It can occur as a result of the use of certain medications, particularly those that increase serotonin levels, such as SSRIs, like escitalopram, and the over-the-counter herbal supplement St. John’s Wort (Mayo Clinic, 2021; Cleveland Clinic, 2022).

The patient’s symptoms and physical exam findings align with the classic manifestations of serotonin syndrome. He has a history of depression and anxiety, and he has been taking both escitalopram and St. John’s wort, which are known to increase serotonin levels (Mayo Clinic, 2022; Cleveland Clinic, 2022). His recent attempt to increase the doses of these medications on his own may have contributed to the development of serotonin syndrome. The symptoms he describes, such as increased anxiety, tremors, sweating, palpitations, and gastrointestinal disturbances including vomiting and diarrhea, are consistent with serotonin syndrome (Mayo Clinic, 2022; Cleveland Clinic, 2022). The physical exam findings of diaphoresis, fine motor tremors, dilated pupils, and hyperreflexia further support this diagnosis (Mayo Clinic, 2022; Cleveland Clinic, 2022).

To confirm the diagnosis, other potential causes of the patient’s symptoms should be ruled out, such as infectious processes, metabolic disturbances, or other drug interactions. The normal results of the head CT and ECG help exclude other possible causes for his symptoms.

The treatment plan for this patient should focus on managing serotonin syndrome, addressing his depression and anxiety, and providing support for his recent loss. The immediate priority is to discontinue the medications that are contributing to serotonin syndrome, including escitalopram and St. John’s wort (Mayo Clinic, 2022; Cleveland Clinic, 2022). Bupropion, the recently prescribed medication for anxiety, should also be stopped due to its potential to increase seizure risk in the context of serotonin syndrome (Saffaei et al., 2020; Mayo Clinic, 2022; Cleveland Clinic, 2022). Supportive care should be provided to manage the patient’s symptoms and stabilize his condition. The case report by Saffaei et al. (2020) highlights the importance of considering the seizure risk associated with bupropion, even in patients without a personal or family history of seizures. The report describes a case of new-onset seizures in a patient who started bupropion for smoking cessation but had no prior seizure risk factors. This case serves as a reminder to healthcare professionals, including those in behavioral health outpatient settings, to be aware of the potential of bupropion to lower the seizure threshold and induce seizures (Saffaei et al., 2020).

Symptomatic relief can be achieved by administering benzodiazepines to help control anxiety, tremors, and agitation. If severe symptoms persist or progress, more intensive interventions may be required, such as intravenous fluids, cooling measures, or even cyproheptadine, a serotonin receptor antagonist that can rapidly reverse serotonin syndrome (Mayo Clinic, 2022; Cleveland Clinic, 2022).

Once the patient’s acute symptoms are under control, it is crucial to address his underlying depression and anxiety. Considering his history of depression and the recent loss of his mother, it is essential to provide him with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, and consider a review of his antidepressant regimen. Given the complexity of the case and the potential drug interactions, consulting with a psychiatrist for further management and medication adjustment would be beneficial.

Supportive measures should also be provided to help the patient cope with grief and loss. Grief counseling and bereavement support groups may be beneficial in assisting him through the mourning process (Medical Xpress, 2021). These resources can provide a safe and empathetic space for the patient to express his emotions, gain support from others who have experienced similar losses, and learn healthy ways to navigate the grieving process.

His treatment plan should include education about healthy coping strategies, self-care, and the importance of establishing a support system. Self-care activities, such as regular exercise, proper sleep hygiene, and engaging in hobbies or activities he enjoys, can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety (NCBI, 2022). Encouraging the patient to reach out to friends or family members who can provide emotional support and accompany him to therapy sessions can also be beneficial.

Regular follow-up appointments should be scheduled to monitor the patient’s progress, adjust the treatment plan as needed, and evaluate for any potential recurrence or exacerbation of symptoms. Collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as primary care providers and therapists, will be essential to ensure coordinated and holistic care for the patient.

In conclusion, serotonin syndrome is a serious condition that requires prompt recognition and appropriate management. Discontinuing the causative medications, providing symptomatic relief, and addressing underlying mental health issues are essential components of the treatment plan. Additionally, supporting the patient through the grieving process and providing education and resources for self-care can contribute to his overall well-being and recovery.



Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Serotonin Syndrome. Retrieved from to an external site.

Mayo Clinic. (2022). Serotonin Syndrome. Retrieved from to an external site.

Medical Xpress. (2021). Grief rewires the brain and can affect physical health. Retrieved from to an external site.

National Center for Biotechnology Information [NCBI]. (2022). Serotonin Syndrome. In StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from to an external site.

Saffaei, D., Lovett, S., & Rech, M. A. (2020). New-Onset Seizure in Patient Medicated With Bupropion for Smoking Cessation: A Case Report. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 57(2), 266-269. to an external site.

reply 2

Based on the presented case, the patient’s symptoms, imaging, and physical examination findings, the diagnosis for this 29-year-old patient would be serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs due to an excessive accumulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the central nervous system. Serotonin syndrome typically results from the use of serotonergic medications, such as the combination of St. John’s wort(Nicolussi et al., 2020), escitalopram, and bupropion, which the patient has been taking. The patient has recently made increases to his dose of escitalopram without provider supervision, bupropion (a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) was started, and the patient takes St. John’s Wart.  The combination of escitalopram, bupropion, and St. Johns Wart, combined with the presentation of symptoms such as agitation, tremors, dilated pupils, hyperreflexia, diaphoresis, and gastrointestinal disturbances, further support the diagnosis of serotonin syndrome(Spadaro et al., 2022). Though bupropion has not been found to be a direct agonist of serotonin, its mechanism of action leads to serotonergic neurons firing at an increased rate ( Murray et al., 2021). This mechanism can contribute to the symptoms presented through this case psych as tremors, tachycardia, and increased reflexes (Murray et al., 2021).  

The treatment plan for serotonin syndrome involves several key steps. First, the immediate discontinuation of all serotonergic medications is essential to prevent further serotonin accumulation(Spadaro et al., 2022). The patient should be closely monitored for any signs of worsening symptoms or complications. Supportive care plays a crucial role, including the management of vital signs and hydration status. In this case, the patient’s elevated temperature and diaphoresis suggest hyperthermia, which may require active cooling measures such as cooling blankets or ice packs.

Furthermore, considering the severity of the patient’s symptoms and the potential risks associated with serotonin syndrome, it is necessary to admit the patient for close monitoring and management of his symptoms. A consult with toxicology should be placed in order to further advise necessary interventions for the patient’s treatment plan. Serotonin syndrome often involves pharmacological intervention such as benzodiazepines to alleviate the patient’s agitation, tremors, and muscle rigidity. Benzodiazepines act as sedatives and can help to control the excessive release of serotonin. Additionally, cyproheptadine, a serotonin antagonist, has been shown to be effective in treating serotonin syndrome and can be considered in severe cases or if the patient’s symptoms do not improve with benzodiazepines alone(Spadaro et al., 2022).

Education and counseling should be provided to the patient regarding the importance of adhering to prescribed medication regimens, and the risks associated with self-adjustment of dosages. Encouraging open communication and providing information on available support resources, such as counseling services or support groups, can also help address the patient’s depression and the recent loss of his mother.

In conclusion, the diagnosis of serotonin syndrome is supported based on the patient’s symptoms, physical examination findings, and the use of multiple serotonergic medications. The treatment plan involves immediate discontinuation of serotonergic medications, supportive care, close monitoring, and the use of benzodiazepines or cyproheptadine if necessary. Admission to a hospital for further management is recommended considering the severity of the symptoms and potential complications associated with serotonin syndrome. Ongoing education and support for the patient’s depression and recent loss should also be provided.



Murray, B. P., Carpenter, J. E., Sayers, J., Yeh, M., Beau, J., Kiernan, E. A., Wolf, M. J., Bolton, T. A., & Kazzi, Z. (2021). Two cases of serotonin syndrome after bupropion overdose treated with cyproheptadine. The Journal of Emergency Medicine60(4), e67–e71.

Nicolussi, S., Drewe, J., Butterweck, V., & Meyer zu Schwabedissen, H. E. (2020). Clinical relevance of st. john’s wort drug interactions revisited. British Journal of Pharmacology177(6), 1212–1226.

Spadaro, A., Scott, K. R., Koyfman, A., & Long, B. (2022). High risk and low prevalence diseases: Serotonin syndrome. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine61, 90–97.

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