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Combo of Zyvox, Some Psych Meds Can Cause Serious Central Nervous System Reactions

Jul 27, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

Patients taking certain psychiatric medications and Pfizer’s antibacterial drug Zyvox are at risk of potentially fatal central nervous system reactions, says the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

On Tuesday, the agency released a safety announcement saying patients taking antidepressants that increase levels of serotonin may need to stop treatment with Zyvox to avoid symptoms associated with Serotonin Syndrome.

Excess serotonin, also called Serotonin Syndrome, can cause mental changes such as confusion, memory problems, excessive sweating, muscle twitching and diarrhea, reported the FDA.

According to the FDA report, the exact mechanism of Zyvox’s interaction with certain psychiatric drugs is unknown.  However, the agency believes taking serotonergic psychiatric drugs while using Zyvox creates high levels of serotonin that can build up in the brain, resulting in toxicity.

The agency also received reports of death associated with Serotonin Syndrome in patients taking psychiatric medications and Zyvox.

Therefore, patients taking psychiatric medications should consult a physician prior to beginning Zyvox treatment.

Patients may need to avoid taking Zoloft, Pristiq, Paxil and Wellbutrin, which are among the 29 psychiatric drugs affected by the FDA warning, says Bloomberg.

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