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Seroquel (Quetiapine)

Seroquel, also known as quetiapine, is an atypical antipsychotics medication used in adults, children, and teens to control the extreme emotions, thoughts, or behaviors that can be associated with schizophrenia. This medication is also used for treating mania or mixed episodes in adults, teens, and children over the age of ten years. Seroquel will not cure bipolar or schizophrenia. This medication will help control the behavior that accompanies these conditions.

Dosage

It may take several weeks to feel the full effect of Seroquel, and it is important to continue taking the medication even if you feel well. Seroquel comes in a regular or a slow-release tablet form. The regular form of Seroquel is taken one to three times per day, while the extended release version is only taken once per day. Your doctor may start you on one dosage and then slowly increase the amount of Seroquel during your first week on this medication. Once the correct dosage is determined, you should take the same amount of Seroquel each day.

Important Information Before Use

Seroquel is not recommended for use by older adults with dementia. If you have or have ever had cataracts, low blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, breast cancer, Parkinson's disease, or thyroid, heart, liver, or kidney disease you should talk to your doctor before you take Seroquel. Tell your doctor if you have ever had diabetes.

 

Seroquel may interact with other medications or supplements, including antidepressants, antifungals, HIV medication, antianxiety medication, medication for Parkinson's, sleeping pills, steroids, and others. If you are taking other prescription drugs or supplements, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Seroquel. If you have ever been addicted to street drugs or a prescription medication, let your doctor know before you begin taking Seroquel. You should also mention any serious reactions you have had to other similar medications.

Important Information During Use

  • If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Seroquel, you should talk to your doctor about your medication choices. If taken during pregnancy, Seroquel can cause problems in newborns and infants.
  • Seroquel can make you extremely drowsy; using alcohol with Seroquel can worsen this side effect.
  • If you are getting dental work or surgery, you should let your dentist or surgeon know you are taking Seroquel
  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice when taking Seroquel.
  • Seroquel can make you very dizzy, particularly when you first stand up from a seated position or after lying down. Stand up slowly to avoid this effect.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you begin to experience signs of increased blood sugar or diabetes. Seroquel can cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis; if you develop any of the signs of this condition, including loss of consciousness, extreme thirst, fruity-smelling breath, or nausea and vomiting, you should tell your doctor right away.
  • Seroquel overdose can be deadly; symptoms include drowsiness, fast heart rate, low blood pressure, low potassium levels, and coma.

Side Effects

If you experience serious or severe side effects from Seroquel, you should call your doctor immediately. Serious side effects may include:

  • Confusion
  • Signs of ketoacidosis, including loss of consciousness, extreme thirst, fruity-smelling breath, nausea, and vomiting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever or sweating
  • Facial or body movements that cannot be controlled
  • Itching, hives, or a rash
  • Painful erection lasting for hours
  • Seizures
  • Shuffling walk or slowed movements
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Faintness

Less serious side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or weakness
  • Difficulty thinking, speaking, or concentrating
  • Loss of coordination
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Stomach upset, including pain, excess gas, vomiting, or constipation
  • Headache
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Strange or unusual dreams
  • Decreased sexual ability or interest
  • Missed menstrual periods or breast discharge for females
  • Breast enlargement for males

Withdrawing

See your doctor before reducing or discontinuing this medication; you should not stop taking Seroquel abruptly. You can reduce withdrawal symptoms by slowly tapering off of this medication. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Return of delusions, hallucinations, or other psychotic symptoms
  • Return of manic or bipolar symptoms

References:

  1. Seroquel® (quetiapine). (2013, January). Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Seroquel_%28quetiapine%29.htm
  2. Important safety information about SEROQUEL XR. (2014, June). Retrieved from http://www.seroquelxr.com/

Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND

 

Last Update: 12-22-2014

 
   

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