Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

No single test can confirm a serotonin syndrome diagnosis. Your doctor will diagnose the condition by ruling out other possibilities.

Your doctor will likely begin by asking about your symptoms, medical history and any medications you're taking. Your doctor will also conduct a physical examination.

To make sure your symptoms are caused by serotonin syndrome and not due to another cause, your doctor may use tests to:

  • Measure levels of any drugs you're using
  • Check for signs of infection
  • Check body functions that may be affected by serotonin syndrome

A number of conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of serotonin syndrome. Minor symptoms can be caused by numerous conditions. Causes of moderate and severe symptoms include:

  • Anticholinergic syndrome, malignant hyperthermia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome, serious conditions caused by certain medications
  • An overdose of illegal drugs, antidepressant medications or other medications that increase serotonin levels
  • Withdrawal from illegal drugs

Your doctor may order tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms. Tests may include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Computerized tomography
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
Mar. 13, 2014

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