Seroquel (A complete review)

Seroquel

Seroquel, or quetiapine, is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.  

In this blog article, we will discuss what Seroquel is used for, common side effects, and important information to know before taking this medication. 

Mental disorders are debilitating and can greatly impede upon one’s ability to function in daily life.

Fortunately, there are many approved treatments that help alleviate symptoms associated with these disorders.

Seroquel, or quetiapine, is a commonly prescribed drug to treat several mental illnesses.

Who is prescribed Seroquel? 

People who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression may be prescribed Seroquel.

Seroquel is an atypical or second generation antipsychotic and works by restoring the balance of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

Experts believe that Seroquel mimics the activity of dopamine and serotonin, which are two of the brain’s major neurotransmitters that are important in regulating mood, pleasure, thinking, and behavior.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that relay information from one neuron to the next to regulate all of our behaviors. 

Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters heavily involved in the reward center of the brain, and serotonin is a master regulator of sleep, appetite, and mood.

Deficits in the dopamine system have also been implicated in psychotic and movement disorders. 

Seroquel (A complete review)

Seroquel sometimes is prescribed “off-label” as a treatment for delusional parasitosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, delirium when in the intensive care unit of a hospital, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Off-label means that it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of these conditions. 

The following is an overview of the symptoms of these mental disorders: 

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels, and severely interferes with everyday life. 

Symptoms of bipolar disorder include both manic and depressive episodes. Signs of a manic episode are: 

·      Feeling very “up” or elated

·      Increased energy and activity levels

·      Feeling jumpy or wired 

·      Trouble sleeping (insomnia)

·      Talking very fast about a lot of different things

·      Agitation or irritability

·      Thoughts racing 

·      Think they can do a lot of things at once 

·      Taking risks such as spending a lot of money or having reckless sex 

The following are symptoms of a depressive episode: 

·      Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness 

·      Very low energy and activity levels 

·      Trouble sleeping (either sleeping too much or too little) 

·      Loss of enjoyment in hobbies or activities

·      Feelings of worry 

·      Trouble concentrating and trouble remembering things 

·      Changes in appetite (either eating too much or too little)

·      Feeling sluggish 

·      Thoughts of death or suicide

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, seek help immediately. 

Seroquel (A complete review)

There are two main types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder.

Bipolar I Disorder is defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or severe manic symptoms that require immediate hospitalization.

Depressive episodes occur as well and usually last at least 2 weeks.

Bipolar I Disorder patients may also have mixed episodes with both manic and depressive symptoms simultaneously. 

Bipolar II Disorder is characterized by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes.

Hypomanic episodes have some features of typical manic episodes but are not severe enough to be considered manic. 

People who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may also be treated with Seroquel.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by abnormal perception of reality.

Symptoms involve hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking and behavior that hinders one’s ability to function in daily life.

Seroquel may decrease hallucinations in people with schizophrenia. 

Seroquel can be used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in combination with antidepressants.

MDD is a mood disorder that causes feelings of worthlessness and loss of interest in daily activities.

Common symptoms of MDD are as follows: 

·      Chronic feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness

·      Loss of interest in activities that once used to bring enjoyment (i.e., sex, hobbies) 

·      Outbursts of anger 

·      Irritability

·      Frustration

·      Issues with sleeping too much or insomnia

·      Lack of energy and fatigue 

·      Changes in eating patterns and weight (i.e., increased appetite and weight gain or reduced appetite and weight loss)

·      Anxiety

·      Agitation

·      Restlessness

·      Slowed speaking, thinking, and movement 

·      Feelings of worthlessness 

·      Ruminating on past failures

·      Feelings of guilt 

·      Trouble concentrating, making proper decisions, and remembering things 

·      Physical problems such as back pain or headaches that cannot be explained by another medical condition 

To get more insight into depression, click here. 

Seroquel (A complete review)

What are common side effects of Seroquel? 

Some side effects of Seroquel include the following:

·      mood or behavior changes

·      constipation

·      stomach pain

·      upset stomach

·      nausea

·      vomiting

·      drowsiness

·      dizziness

·      dry mouth

Are there more serious side effects of Seroquel?

There are some serious side effects of Seroquel, and you should contact your doctor and seek emergency medical help immediately if you are experiencing any of these. 

Serious side effects include:

·      Restlessness or inability to sit still

·      Shakiness (tremor) 

·      Increased anxiety, thoughts of suicide, or other mood changes

·      Difficulty swallowing

·      Constipation with persistent abdominal pain

·      Nausea and vomiting that will not subside

·      Loss of appetite

·      Yellowing eyes or skin

·      Interrupted breathing during sleep 

·      Difficulty urinating 

·      Symptoms of an allergic reaction such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling of the face, tongue or throat

A rare and potentially fatal condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) has been reported with Seroquel.

This disease causes muscle rigidity, hyperpyrexia (extremely high fever), fast heartbeat (tachycardia), diaphoresis (excessive sweating), irregular pulse or blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms (cardiac dysrhythmia), and altered mental status. 

Long-term treatment with Seroquel and other atypical antipsychotics can lead to the development of tardive dyskinesia (TD).

TD is a movement disorder that is characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements which usually include eye blinking, grimacing, or lip smacking.

This syndrome may be reversible if treatment with the antipsychotic is ceased. 

If you are taking Seroquel, it is imperative that your doctor monitors your weight and blood sugar consistently.

Patients taking Seroquel or other atypical antipsychotics have developed hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). 

Seroquel can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in the first few months of treatment, especially in children, teenagers, and young adults.

Your doctor and people close to you should monitor your behavior and look for signs of any changes in mood. 

Seroquel (A complete review)

What is some other important information I should know before taking Seroquel?

It may take several weeks before your symptoms start to improve. Keep taking the medication as directed.

Consult your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they worsen. 

You should not stop taking Seroquel without direction from your doctor. Stopping Seroquel suddenly may cause unpleasant withdrawal effects. 

People, especially elderly people, with dementia-related psychosis should not take Seroquel or other antipsychotic medications.

Seroquel can increase the risk of death in these patients. 

Seroquel has both risks and benefits.

Talk to your doctor about your concerns so that he or she can make sure that you are getting the treatment that is right for you. 

This blog article should have given you a thorough overview on what Seroquel is prescribed for and how it works to treat mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

This article also discussed the precautions regarding treatment with Seroquel. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Seroquel:

1.    Why do people get prescribed Seroquel?

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic used to treat certain mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and episodes of mania or depression associated with bipolar disorder.

It is also supposed to improve mood, appetite, sleep, and energy levels in these patients. 

What does Seroquel do?

Seroquel is used to treat schizophrenia in adults and children 13 years of age or older.

It can be prescribed to treat bipolar disorder (manic depression) in adults and children who are 10 years of age or older.

Seroquel can also be used in combination with antidepressants to treat major depressive disorder. 

3.    Is Seroquel a good sleep aid?

Seroquel is not approved to be used as a sleep aid, however it does have sedative effects.

4.    What are the side effects of Seroquel? 

Some side effects of Seroquel include the following:

·      mood or behavior changes

·      constipation

·      stomach pain

·      upset stomach

·      nausea

·      vomiting

·      drowsiness

·      dizziness

·      dry mouth

5.    How long does it take for Seroquel to kick in?

Seroquel usually starts improving symptoms four to six weeks after beginning to take it. 

There are some serious side effects of Seroquel, and you should contact your doctor and seek emergency medical help immediately if you are experiencing any of these. 

Serious side effects include:

·      Restlessness or inability to sit still

·      Shakiness (tremor) 

·      Increased anxiety, thoughts of suicide, or other mood changes

·      Difficulty swallowing

·      Constipation with persistent abdominal pain

·      Nausea and vomiting that will not subside

·      Loss of appetite

·      Yellowing eyes or skin

·      Interrupted breathing during sleep
 
·      Difficulty urinating 

·      Symptoms of an allergic reaction such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling of the face, tongue or throat

Want to learn more about Seroquel? Try these recommended readings!

SEROQUEL XR Tablet: Treats Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, or Depression

This book by James Lee Anderson provides information about Seroquel in paperback form.

It discusses what Seroquel is prescribed for, how it works, and how it should be taken.  

Seroquel (Quetiapine): An Easy-to-Read Guide to Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Withdrawal, and More

This book discusses the risks and benefits of Seroquel and why it is so controversial.

You will learn how Seroquel works, who should and shouldn’t use it, and what can go wrong. 

I am not in recovery. I am in discovery: Journaling my mental illness

Journaling is a great way to help process and keep track of your experiences and feelings while you are going through the life-altering symptoms of a mental disorder including depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

This journal contains 94 daily templates to aid in your discovery process. 

The Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present Moment

Journaling is a great way to give yourself a stress release.

Whether you are dealing with mental health issues, heartbreak, a problem at work, or any other life stressor, this journal is for you.

This Mindfulness Journal can easily be added into your daily routine and can serve as an outlet for stress-reduction that will help you appreciate every single day and moment.

It includes 365 daily writing prompts divided into 52 weekly mindfulness topics. The prompts are extremely unique, fun, and engaging, so you will never get bored while journaling.

Additionally, each prompt is on its own separate page so you will have more than enough room for reflection and to write down all of your thoughts, big or small.

Although it is suggested to journal once a day, you can spend as much or as little time as you want on each prompt. 

More questions or comments about Seroquel? Post below!

References

Seroquel. WebMD. 2020. 

Quetiapine (Seroquel). National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). February 2020. 

Seroquel Medication Guide. FDA. October 2013. 

Seroquel (A complete review)

Aura Des los Santos

Aura Des los Santos is a Clinical Psychologist with two masters degree in Education. One focused in Higher Educacion and the other in the research of Psychology of Education. Her experience is focused on working depression, anxiety and personal development. She frequently writes articles in the area of psychology, education, travel and general culture.