Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy often require pharmacotherapy for symptom management. Serotonin syndrome is a rare clinical entity that can be precipitated by the medications used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
A 35-year-old pregnant individual with a history of hyperemesis gravidarum in an earlier pregnancy requiring prolonged hospitalization presented with nausea and vomiting at 7 weeks of gestation. She was incidentally found to have severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection when she was universally screened at the time of admission. She required pharmacotherapy, including prochlorperazine and ondansetron for treatment of nausea as well as sumatriptan for migraine. She developed acute spasticity, autonomic dysfunction, and temperature rise, precipitated by antiemetic therapy, consistent with serotonin syndrome. The syndrome resolved with supportive care and benzodiazepines.
Serotonin syndrome is a serious clinical entity that can be provoked by the pharmacotherapy given to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. This medical emergency requires early recognition and prompt management.