Late presentation of Torsades de Pointes related to fluoxetine following a multiple drug overdose.J Intensive Care. 2018; 6:59.JI
Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) commonly used in the treatment of depression. While most intoxications with SSRI's have favorable outcomes and do not require interventions other than strict observation of vital signs and heart rhythm, clinicians should be aware of the life-threatening complications that may occur.
A 61-year-old woman presented to the emergency department after an intentional multiple drug overdose. Upon examination, she was somnolent with stable respiration and hemodynamics. Electrocardiography showed a prolonged QTc interval of 503 ms. The patient was admitted to the ICU for cardiopulmonary monitoring. During admission, the patient remained stable and showed improved neurologic function over time. After 22 h, a second ECG showed normalization of the QTc interval to 458 ms. However, 36 to 40 h after admission, our patient developed recurrent episodes of Torsades de Pointes (TdP) with loss of cardiac output, leading to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Spontaneous circulation was restored after intravenous administration of magnesium sulphate. Retrospective serum analysis revealed fluoxetine concentrations of 2700 mcg/l.
Most intoxications with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have favorable outcomes and do not require medical interventions other than strict cardiopulmonary observation. However, higher doses have been associated with QTc interval prolongation, TdP, serotonin syndrome, and death. This case illustrates that life-threatening complications may occur late in the course of hospital admission. Even though overdoses with SSRI's generally result in few fatalities, clinicians should be aware of the life-threatening clinical manifestations that may occur. Despite being an imperfect predictor of imminent TdP, continuous monitoring of cardiac rhythm is strongly recommended when either cardiac or non-cardiac symptoms are present.