Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is the brand name of a drug manufactured by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. This drug is prescribed for the treatment of mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Smaller doses of the drug are also used to treat conditions like insomnia, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.
First approved by the FDA in 1997, this is one of the newer versions of antipsychotic drugs, which seemed more promising than the prevalent depression medications. It works by altering the chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin and lessens the activities of these two neurotransmitters, by stabilizing the person's mood.
Side Effects of Seroquel
Since seroquel is capable of causing low blood pressure along with dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and fainting, the psychiatrist will increase the dose of seroquel on a gradual basis. There are different side effects and while some are common and not dangerous, others require immediate attention.
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
- Stuffy nose
- Blurred vision
- Disruption in speech and communication
- Upset stomach
- Missed menstrual periods
Besides these side effects, there are some other severe side effects as well. If one encounters any of the symptoms mentioned below, one should consult the psychiatrist immediately.
- Swelling of the throat, lips, face, and tongue
- Skin irritation
- Breathing difficulty
- Swallowing difficulty
- Behavioral changes
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Profuse sweating
- Severe headache
- Muscle stiffness
Seroquel, NMS, and TD
People taking seroquel are at great risks of getting Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) and Tardive Dyskinesia (TD). The above symptoms such as profuse sweating, confusion, stiff muscles, high fever, etc., are symptoms of NMS. This is a rare syndrome and can conduce to death. TD on the other hand, shows symptoms like uncontrollable movements in one's face, tongue, and other body parts.
Seroquel and the Elderly
People who are nearing senility and have Philippines dementia, should refrain from taking this drug. Dementia is a condition in which a person loses his ability to think, remember, or reason. Research reveals that this drug worsens dementia in the elderly, which is why it must not be given to them.
Side Effects in Children
The FDA has only permitted treating teenagers above 18 with seroquel, however, one of the off-label uses of seroquel is treating children with mental illnesses. Seroquel is an antidepressant and all antidepressants are linked to increased risks of suicidal tendencies in children and teenagers. If the child is showing suicidal tendencies, the doctor should look into the matter immediately.
Seroquel and Diabetes
Symptoms like excessive thirst, extreme fatigue, confusion, upset stomach, frequent urination, etc., are signs of high blood sugar. This is also a detrimental condition because extremely high blood sugar levels can conduce to serious conditions like coma and death.
Patients who experience these side effects should not suddenly stop the dosage. If this happens, then one will have to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. There is the risk of causing more danger to oneself, thus, immediately consult your psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will reduce your dose over the next few weeks. This will reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, before taking this medication, it is important to inform your psychiatrist about your medical history and whether you suffer from conditions like hypertension, seizures, diabetes, thyroid disorder, epilepsy, etc.
Like all antidepressant medications, the side effects of this drug are also many. However, it is not necessary that everybody taking the drug experiences all or any of the above mentioned ones. It varies from person to person. Moreover, the side effects triggered are only temporary and can be treated under efficient medical supervision.
Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.