Q: What is Seroquel?
A: Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate tablets) is in a class of medications called atypical antipsychotics. Antipsychotic medicines are used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia that may include hearing voices, seeing things, sensing things that are not there, mistaken beliefs, and unusual suspiciousness. Seroquel is made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, L.P. and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997.
Q: Has there been any recent news about Seroquel?
A: In April 2005, the FDA issued an alert stating that older patients treated with atypical antipsychotic medicines, such as Seroquel, for dementia had a higher chance for death than patients who did not take the medicine. The FDA stated further that this is not an approved use and has asked the companies that make these medicines to change their labels to include this important information.
In 2012, the FDA announced it had approved the sale of generic versions of Seroquel.
Q: Are there any serious health risks associated with Seroquel?
A: Seroquel and other antipsychotic medications can cause serious problems including Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) (a life-threatening nervous system problem), Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) (a movement problem), and high blood sugar and diabetes. Other serious side effects from Seroquel use may include low blood pressure (seen as dizziness and possible fainting), increased heartbeat, cataracts, seizures, low thyroid, elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, liver problems, persistent erection, changes in body temperature, and difficulty swallowing.
Q: What are the most common side effects associated with Seroquel?
A: The most common side effects from Seroquel use include headache, agitation, dry mouth, constipation, pain, vomiting, upset stomach, and weight gain.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Seroquel?
A: Before you start taking Seroquel, tell your healthcare professional if you have or had heart problems, have or had cataracts, have a thyroid disorder, have high cholesterol or triglycerides, have or had seizures, have or had diabetes or increased blood sugar, have or had liver disease, are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant, are breast-feeding, or drink alcohol.
Q: Are there any interactions between Seroquel and other drugs or foods?
A: Because certain other medications can interact with Seroquel, you should talk first with your healthcare professional about all prescription and non-prescription medicines you are taking. You should also avoid drinking alcohol while taking Seroquel.
Q: Has Seroquel been the subject of any lawsuits?
A: According to the New York Times, AstraZeneca has been settling Seroquel lawsuits with regularity. Of the 28,700 cases that were filed before mid-2011, the company had settled all but 250.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of taking Seroquel?
A: If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions while taking Seroquel, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also wish to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries caused by Seroquel use.