Quetiapine (Seroquel)


Quetiapine is the generic name for an oral, antipsychotic drug approved for treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and related depression or major depressive disorder.

It is sometimes used off-label for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, alcoholism, and Tourette syndrome. It is occasionally used as a sedative for people with extreme sleep disorder. Like other antipsychotic drugs, it is an inhibitor of communication between neurotransmitters or brain cells. Quetiapine blocks dopamine and serotonin. It can be used in combination with other drugs.

Most people will start off on a low dosage and increase as they acclimate.

Quetiapine should not be taken by women who are or who might become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Common adverse affects are headache, agitation, dizziness, drowsiness, weight gain and gastrointestinal distress. Dizziness is caused by a sudden lack of blood pressure when standing quickly. Drowsiness can become severe and during the first few weeks of taking the drug, any activity requiring full attention, like driving or operating heavy equipment, should be avoided.

Long term use may lead to involuntary fliching of the extremities, called tardive dyskinesia. Long term use can also cause problems with vision, specifically the development of cataracts. Eye exams should be made regularly.

Blood cholesterol may increase. There is also an increased risk of hyperglycemia for any antipsychotic medication. Any person with a family history of diabetes or who has diabetes should be carefully monitored through treatment. The drug can cause the onset of diabetes.

Some elderly patients with dementia who take quetiapine suffer from violent rages. These patients should be carefully monitored. Studies do not support giving quetiapine to elderly dementia patients.

On rare occasion, it has been used as a date rape drug. It is occasionally found as a street drug referred to as “Q-Ball”, “quell” and “snoozeberries”.

Source: MedicineNet, Wikipedia, SeroquelXR, NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov


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