Seroquel is a prescription medication primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It belongs to a class of drugs known as antipsychotics, and it is taken orally. Seroquel is available as an immediate-release tablet, and some patients may take the extended-release formulation. To reduce the risk of side effects, doctors usually start treatment with a low dose of this medication, gradually working up to a larger dose. Patients who use Seroquel for the treatment of schizophrenia normally take it two to three times each day. When used to treat depression or bipolar disorder, it is typically taken only once per day. Patients who wish to discontinue this medicine should check with their doctor about how to safely taper their dose. If the patient suddenly stops taking Seroquel, their mental health condition could worsen.
The uses, side effects, precautions, and potential medication interactions associated with Seroquel are outlined below.
How It Works
This medication is a second-generation antipsychotic, and it is classified as an atypical antipsychotic drug. It works by balancing dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Seroquel binds to the brain's dopamine receptors, and this prevents dopamine from binding with the receptors. With dopamine blocked, patients who take Seroquel can experience improvements in the 'negative' symptoms associated with schizophrenia, including social withdrawal and blunted emotional responses. The drug also blocks serotonin from binding to a specific serotonin receptor known as 5HT2A. Researchers believe serotonin's inappropriate binding to this specific receptor could contribute to the development of schizophrenia, depression and other mental health conditions. Along with blocking dopamine and serotonin receptors, Seroquel also blocks histamine and alpha-1 receptors. In doing so, it lowers the patient's blood pressure and produces a calming effect.
Get the details on the uses and benefits associated with Seroquel next.
Seroquel Uses and Benefits
Seroquel is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. In patients with schizophrenia, the medication helps reduce hallucinations and delusions. It may improve motivation and clarity of speech, and it can help patients organize their thoughts more effectively. Seroquel is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in patients who are at least thirteen years old. For individuals with bipolar disorder, this medication is approved for the acute treatment of manic and depressive episodes, and it is also approved as a long-term treatment for bipolar disorder. When used as a long-term option, it can be taken alone, and some patients may take it with lithium or valproate. Seroquel is approved as a treatment for bipolar disorder in individuals who are at least ten years old. When used for the treatment of major depression, this medication is only approved as an adjunctive treatment for adults. It must be used in conjunction with an antidepressant, and it cannot be the only medication the patient takes to manage their depression. Seroquel is sometimes prescribed as an 'off-label' treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and delusional parasitosis. It may be considered for use in patients who experience delirium during hospitalization in intensive care.
Discover the side effects of Seroquel next.
Potential Side Effects
Constipation, upset stomach, sleepiness, fatigue, dry mouth, and weight gain are some of the most frequently reported side effects of Seroquel. Some patients could experience dizziness or lightheadedness during treatment with this medicine as well. Dizziness and lightheadedness are especially likely to occur during the first few weeks of treatment, and they could also happen when the patient's dose is increased. Some patients may notice cold sweats and chills while taking this medicine too. When using Seroquel, patients should be especially vigilant for potentially serious side effects. Some of the more serious side effects include tremors, suicidal thoughts, increased anxiety, swallowing difficulties, jaundice and persistent abdominal pain. Patients have reported persistent nausea and vomiting while taking Seroquel, and some have had trouble urinating. Loss of appetite, seizures, fainting and interrupted breathing during sleep have been reported as well. Patients should tell their doctor immediately if they notice any serious side effects, and they should be taken to the emergency room if they faint or have a seizure. Patients should also mention any side effects that are persistent or severe. It may be possible to adjust the dose to minimize side effects.
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Precautions To Remember
Before prescribing Seroquel, the doctor will need to know if the patient has any history of seizures, liver disease, thyroid issues, cataracts or a low white blood cell count. Patients should also inform their physician if they have a personal or family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or substance use issues. This medicine may need to be used with caution in patients with these conditions, and the doctor might recommend a different medicine depending on the patient's specific health needs.
Seroquel can lead to a condition known as long QT syndrome, which may cause a rapid, irregular heartbeat that requires immediate medical care. Patients may need to have an electrocardiogram to check their heart rhythm before starting Seroquel, and they should inform their doctor right away if they notice any palpitations or if they experience severe dizziness. Pediatric patients are at an elevated risk of high blood pressure due to Seroquel, and they may need to have their blood pressure monitored regularly. This medication may cause a decrease in sweat production, and this could increase the risk of heatstroke. Patients should avoid exercising in hot weather, and it is particularly important to avoid hot tubs.
Keep reading to uncover the potential medication interactions with Seroquel next.
Potential Medication Interactions
To avoid potential medication interactions during treatment with Seroquel, patients should let their doctor know about all of the medicines they use, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, as well as herbs and supplements. Taking Seroquel with chlorpromazine, iloperidone, asenapine or other antipsychotic medicine could increase the risk of cardiovascular issues. Quinidine, amiodarone and other medications used to prevent irregular heartbeats could also contribute to cardiovascular issues when taken with Seroquel. Erythromycin and fluvoxamine increase the level of Seroquel in the blood, and patients who use these medicines together could experience more side effects from Seroquel. Carbamazepine, phenytoin, and rifampin may reduce the effectiveness of Seroquel. Patients who use these medicines might need to have their doses adjusted during treatment.