What is Seroquel?
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, or unusual suspiciousness.
Seroquel may be used alone or with lithium or divalproex to treat acute manic episodes in adults who have a condition called Bipolar I disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings.
Seroquel is made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, L.P. and 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 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.
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 when 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 associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible if patients are injured as the result of inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug, under a legal theory called "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. 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.
- Go here to learn more about an attorney's role in a pharmaceutical liability case.
- To find an experienced attorney, use the "Find a Lawyer" tool on this page, or click here.