CPCP: Serotonin Syndrome and Tramadol Reviews by Top-Flight Medical Students

Coming at you we’ve got another outstanding Clinical Problems in Consultation Psychiatry (CPCP) presentation by senior medical students, this time covering a basic review of serotonin syndrome and the role of the analgesic tramadol in serotonin syndrome. Unfortunately, this is not a rare problem in the general hospital and psychiatric consultants are often called about it.

Serotonin is one of those chemicals that can be out of balance in the body and it’s easy to think of it in terms of depression as a condition in which there’s not enough serotonin and serotonin syndrome as one in which there’s too much. While it’s not that simple, Scott and Sydney help summarize the essential features of the serotonin imbalance when there’s way too much.

Scott McDermott, M4

Scott McDermott, M4

Scott McDermott leads off with a great, succinct review of serotonin syndrome. He plans to pursue a residency in orthopedic surgery. Go Scott!

Sydney Harman, M4

Sydney Harman, M4

Sydney Harman follows-up with a thorough and practical review of the pain medication tramadol’s role in causing serotonin syndrome. She’ll be doing her residency in Anesthesia. Yay Sydney!

In order to see the picture galleries of photos or powerpoint slides, click on one of the slides, which will open up the presentation to fill the screen. Use the arrow buttons to scroll left and right through the slides or up and down to view any annotations.



  1. Nice presentation. I think we are past the point where 5HT syndrome needs to be part of the informaed consent for SSRIs and polypharmacy situations (SSRI + buspirone, etc). The other interesting feature is that some people can develop it after a single dose of an SSRI and you often discover this taking their history. They frequently idetifiy themselves as a person who “cannot take” an SSRI or antidepressant.

    Also wanted to leave a resource from Japan in the event you have not discovered it from KEGG. Here is their drawing of a 5-HT synpase in great detail.


    Their copyright info is generally OK for non-commercial use and the appropriate citation.


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