Seroquel is a brand name for prescription quetiapine fumarate tablets, which are atypical antipsychotics. Antipsychotics are primarily used to treat schizophrenia and Bipolar I disorder. Patients with schizophrenia may hear voices, see things, senses things that are not there, have mistaken beliefs, or be unusually suspicious of others. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings.
Seroquel may be used alone or with lithium or divalproex. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, L.P. has been manufacturing Seroquel since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997.
Seroquel FDA Alert
In April 2005, the FDA issued an alert stating that elderly patients treated with atypical antipsychotic medicines for dementia had a higher chance for death. The use of Seroquel for dementia is no longer acceptable by FDA standards, so manufacturers were required to change their product labeling to include this important information.
Seroquel Health Risks
Seroquel and other antipsychotic medications can cause serious problems such as:
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS), a life-threatening nervous system problem, which can cause high fever, stiff muscles, sweating, fast or irregular heart beat, change in blood pressure, and confusion. NMS can also affect your kidneys and is a medical emergency. Call your healthcare professional right away if you experience these symptoms.
- Tardive Dyskinesia (TD), a movement problem. Call your healthcare professional right away if you get muscle movements that cannot be stopped.
- High blood sugar and diabetes. Patients with diabetes or who have a higher chance for diabetes should have their blood sugar checked often.
Other serious side effects from Seroquel use may include:
- Low blood pressure (seen as dizziness and possible fainting)
- Increased heart beat
- Low thyroid
- Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides
- Liver problems
- Persistent erection
- Increase or decrease in body temperature
- Difficulty swallowing
The most common side effects from Seroquel use include:
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?
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, or are breast-feeding
- Drink alcohol
Interactions with Other Drugs and Foods
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.
Your healthcare professional may have to adjust your dose or watch you more closely if you take the following medications:
- Blood pressure medicines
- Levodopa and medicines called dopamine agonists
- Antifungal or antibiotic medicines such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole and erythromycin
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Seroquel.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know About Taking Seroquel?
Dizziness (and sometimes fainting) caused by a drop in blood pressure may occur with Seroquel, especially when you first start taking Seroquel or the dose is increased. Seroquel may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. You should be careful when operating machinery, including automobiles, until you know how Seroquel affects you. It is important to avoid overheating and dehydration while taking Seroquel, because Seroquel use may make it harder to lower your body temperature.
Seroquel - Getting Legal Help
While all medications have certain anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to make its products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible for any injuries that result from inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug. These types of lawsuits are generally brought under a legal theory known as "product liability."
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. It's also in your best interests to consult with a medical malpractice or product liability attorney to learn more about your legal options.