We would like provisionally to name it serotonin, which indicates that its source is serum and its activity is one of causing constriction.
Rapport M, et al
The cardiovascular properties of serotonin (5-HT) have been known for some time—its name reflects its presence in serum and its action in increasing vascular tone. Serotonergic medications are routinely used to treat depressive and anxiety disorders, and the association of depression with cardiovascular disease has become well established.2 Recent studies have confirmed the colloquial wisdom that anxiety (especially panic) and hypertension are linked.
In this article, we examine the trinity of serotonin—serotonergic dysfunction, autonomic panic, and normal-weight essential hypertension— and the evidence that hypertensive individuals who experience panic with autonomic symptoms may be a group of patients in whom serotonergic dysfunction plays a key role. We discuss implications of this model, including the potential utility of SSRIs as antihypertensives in this cohort.
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