Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seroquel (quetiapine) is an antipsychotic, a neuroleptic--NOT an antidepressant --get to know the fine print side effects of the medicine you take

                                                     ** photo credit hat-tip to pharmagossip blog **

The first question you need to be asking: if you're not psychotic, why would anyone prescribe you an antipsychotic? Of course we know the answer to this question; AstraZeneca is bound and determined (your health be damned) to market Seroquel & SeroquelXR for every billion they can...

The second Question you should be asking: How did a dangerous and powerful anti-psychotic (neuroleptic) become one of the most prescribed drugs on the planet?...it's not like we have had a sudden pandemic of psychosis grapple the planet earth...

The final question that must be asked & answered: Do the benefits significantly outweigh the risk with seroquel?

I want you to take a serious look at the side effects listed below...now take to heart that Seroquel has shown to be no better, less harmful, or any more effective than the old non-atypical anti-psychotics like haldol etc....Should anyone take a drug that has elevated risk of serious and permanently debilitating consequences for a mental health condition that has no known/proven origin or pathology.

The prescribing information addresses suicidal thinking yet call it a side effect of antidepressants (true) why not call it an antipsychotic? Could it be the marketing re-packaging PR department? This drug is being watered down to the point of general use where the next thing we hear is it is a common anti-anxiety drug...oh wait, that already happened with off-label prescriptions.


AstraZeneca-Seroquel prescribing information sheet:

SEROQUEL (SER-oh-kwell) (quetiapine fumarate) Tablets Read this Medication Guide before you start taking SEROQUEL and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This Medication Guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment.

What is the most important information I should know about SEROQUEL?

Serious side effects may happen when you take SEROQUEL, including:

 • Risk of death in the elderly with dementia: Medicines like SEROQUEL can raise the risk of death in elderly people who have lost touch with reality due to confusion and memory loss (dementia). SEROQUEL is not approved for treating psychosis in the elderly with dementia.

• Risk of suicidal thoughts or actions: Antidepressant medicines, depression and other serious mental illnesses, and suicidal thoughts or actions:

1. Antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment.
2. Depression and other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts and actions. Some people may have a particularly high risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions. These include people who have (or have a family history of) depression, bipolar illness (also called manic-depressive illness), or suicidal thoughts or actions.
3. How can I watch for and try to prevent suicidal thoughts and actions in myself or a family member? • Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is started or when the dose is changed. • Call the healthcare provider right away to report new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings. • Keep all follow-up visits with the healthcare provider as scheduled. Call the healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you have concerns about symptoms.

Call a healthcare provider right away if you or your family member has any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: • thoughts about suicide or dying • attempts to commit suicide • new or worse depression • new or worse anxiety • feeling very agitated or restless.

• panic attacks • trouble sleeping (insomnia) • new or worse irritability • acting aggressive, being angry, or violent • acting on dangerous impulses • an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
• other unusual changes in behavior or mood

What else do I need to know about antidepressant medicines?

(antidepressants are Celexa,Prozac, Lexapro,Cymbalta, Zoloft, etc)

• Never stop an antidepressant medicine without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping an antidepressant medicine suddenly can cause other symptoms.
 • Antidepressants are medicines used to treat depression and other illnesses. It is important to discuss all the risks of treating depression and also the risks of not treating it. Patients and their families or other caregivers should discuss all treatment choices with the healthcare provider, not just the use of antidepressants. • Antidepressant medicines have other side effects. Talk to the healthcare provider about the side effects of the medicine prescribed for you or your family member.

• Antidepressant medicines can interact with other medicines. Know all of the medicines that you or your family member take. Keep a list of all medicines to show the healthcare provider. Do not start new medicines without first checking with your healthcare provider.

• Not all antidepressant medicines prescribed for children are FDA approved for use in children. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider for more information.


• SEROQUEL is a prescription medicine used to treat schizophrenia in people age 13 or older.

 • SEROQUEL is a prescription medicine used to treat bipolar disorder, including: • depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder in adults

 • manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder alone or with lithium or divalproex in adults • long-term treatment of bipolar I disorder with lithium or divalproex in adults

 • SEROQUEL is used to treat manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in children ages 10 to 17 years. SEROQUEL has not been studied in patients younger than 10 years of age.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking SEROQUEL?

 Before taking SEROQUEL, tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had:

• diabetes or high blood sugar in you or your family: your healthcare provider should check your blood sugar before you start SEROQUEL and also during therapy.

 • high levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides or LDL-cholesterol or low levels of HDL- cholesterol • low or high blood pressure.

• low white blood cell count

• cataracts

 • seizures

 • abnormal thyroid tests

 • high prolactin levels

 • heart problems

 • liver problems

• any other medical condition

• pregnancy or plans to become pregnant. It is not known if SEROQUEL will harm your unborn baby.

 • breast-feeding or plans to breast-feed. It is not known if SEROQUEL will pass into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will take SEROQUEL or breast-feed. You should not do both. Tell the healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take or recently have taken including prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines, herbal supplements and vitamins. SEROQUEL and other medicines may affect each other causing serious side effects.

SEROQUEL may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how SEROQUEL works. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take or plan to take medicines for:

 • depression • high blood pressure • Parkinson’s disease • trouble sleeping Also tell your healthcare provider if you take or plan to take any of these medicines:

• phenytoin, divalproex or carbamazepine (for epilepsy) • barbiturates (to help you sleep) • rifampin (for tuberculosis) • glucocorticoids (steroids for inflammation) • thioridazine (an antipsychotic) • ketoconazole, fluconazole or itraconazole (for fungal infections) • erythromycin (an antibiotic) • protease inhibitors (for HIV)

This is not a complete list of medicines that can affect or be affected by SEROQUEL. Your doctor can tell you if it is safe to take SEROQUEL with your other medicines. Do not start or stop any medicines while taking SEROQUEL without talking to your healthcare provider first. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

How should I take SEROQUEL? • Take SEROQUEL exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. Do not change the dose yourself. • Take SEROQUEL by mouth, with or without food. • If you feel you need to stop SEROQUEL, talk with your healthcare provider first.

If you suddenly stop taking SEROQUEL, you may experience side effects such as trouble sleeping or trouble staying asleep (insomnia), nausea, and vomiting.

 • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to the next dose, skip the missed dose. Just take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time unless your healthcare provider tells you to. If you are not sure about your dosing, call your healthcare provider.

 • If you take too much SEROQUEL, call your healthcare provider or poison control center at 1-800-222-1212 right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

What should I avoid while taking SEROQUEL?

Do not drive, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how SEROQUEL affects you. SEROQUEL may make you drowsy.

• Avoid getting over-heated or dehydrated. o Do not over-exercise. o In hot weather, stay inside in a cool place if possible. o Stay out of the sun. Do not wear too much or heavy clothing. o Drink plenty of water. • Do not drink alcohol while taking SEROQUEL. It may make some side effects of SEROQUEL worse. What are possible side effects of SEROQUEL? Serious side effects have been reported with SEROQUEL including: Also, see “What is the most important information I should know about SEROQUEL?” at the beginning of this Medication Guide

• Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS): Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms: high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure. These may be symptoms of a rare and serious condition that can lead to death. Stop SEROQUEL and call your healthcare provider right away.

• High blood sugar (hyperglycemia): Increases in blood sugar can happen in some people who take SEROQUEL. Extremely high blood sugar can lead to coma or death. If you have diabetes or risk factors for diabetes (such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes) your healthcare provider should check your blood sugar before you start SEROQUEL and during therapy. Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms of high blood sugar while taking SEROQUEL:

• feel very thirsty • need to urinate more than usual • feel very hungry • feel weak or tired

• feel sick to your stomach • feel confused, or your breath smells fruity.

High cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood (fat in the blood) Increases in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreases in HDL (good) cholesterol have been reported in clinical trials with SEROQUEL. You may not have any symptoms, so your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels before you start taking SEROQUEL and during therapy.

• Increase in weight (weight gain): Weight gain has been seen in patients who take SEROQUEL so you and your healthcare provider should check your weight regularly.

• Tardive dyskinesia: Tell your healthcare provider about any movements you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other body parts. These may be signs of a serious condition. Tardive dyskinesia may not go away, even if you stop taking SEROQUEL. Tardive dyskinesia may also start after you stop taking SEROQUEL.

• Orthostatic hypotension (decreased blood pressure): lightheadedness or fainting caused by a sudden change in heart rate and blood pressure when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

• Increases in blood pressure: reported in children and teenagers. Your healthcare provider should check blood pressure in children and adolescents before starting SEROQUEL and during therapy.

• Low white blood cell count

• Cataracts

• Seizures

• Abnormal thyroid tests: Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your thyroid hormone level.

• Increases in prolactin levels: Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your prolactin levels.

• Increases in liver enzymes: Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your liver enzyme levels.

• Long lasting and painful erection

• Difficulty swallowing

Common possible side effects with SEROQUEL include: Adults • drowsiness • upset stomach • dry mouth • weight gain • dizziness • a sudden drop in blood pressure • weakness upon standing • abdominal pain • abnormal liver tests • constipation • sore throat • sluggishness

Children and Adolescents:

• drowsiness •dizziness • fatigue •increased appetite • nausea •vomiting • dry mouth •rapid heart beat • weight gain These are not all the possible side effects of SEROQUEL.

For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

SEROQUEL IS AN ANTIPSYCHOTIC, along with others such as Zyprexa, Abilify, Haldol, Risperdal, Invega, Melleril and others.

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