Generic Name: Quetiapine fumarate
What is Seroquel?
Seroquel (Generic Name: quetiapine fumarate) is an anti-psychotic primarily used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia in people over 13 years of age, bipolar disorder in adults, and manic episodes in children between 10 and 17. The safety and effectiveness of taking Seroquel for children under age 10 is unknown. Seroquel can be dangerous for elderly people with dementia. Physicians may recommend a reduced dose for adults over age 65 or people with liver problems.
Seroquel XR, the extended release formulation, is sometimes used to treat anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder in adults and children over the age of 10, in combination with antidepressants.
How to Use Seroquel
Before starting or refilling a Seroquel prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.
This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.
Dosage for Seroquel
As with all medications, follow your Seroquel prescription instructions exactly. Seroquel is taken by mouth, with or without food. The optimal dosage varies by age and condition treated. Seroquel is available in two formulations:
- Seroquel Immediate Release: Tablets are available in 25mg, 50mg, 100mg, 200mg, 300mg, and 400mg dosages. It is commonly taken two to three times daily. Tablets should be swallowed whole, never crushed or chewed.
- Seroquel XR: Tablets are available in 50mg, 150mg, 200mg, 300mg, and 400mg dosages. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medication in your body throughout the day. It is commonly taken once daily at bedtime. Tablets should be swallowed whole, never crushed or chewed.
If you miss a dose, you should take it as soon as possible, unless it is already time for your next dose. You should not take two doses of Seroquel at the same time. Contact your doctor if you have questions about skipped pills.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Seroquel.
When discontinuing treatment, or decreasing dosage, patients should work with a doctor to gradually taper the level of medication. Stopping Seroquel suddenly can create serious symptoms including difficulty sleeping, nausea, and vomiting.
Side Effects Associated with Seroquel
The most common side effects of Seroquel are as follows:
Children and Adolescents (ages 10 to 17): Nausea, dry mouth, weight gain, increase appetite, vomiting, and rapid heartbeat.
Adults: Dry mouth, dizziness, weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, sore throat, and difficulty moving.
The most common side effects of Seroquel XR are as follows: dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, increased appetite, upset stomach, fatigue, stuffy nose, and difficulty moving.
Medications like Seroquel can increase risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts, especially at the start of treatment. Report any sudden changes in mood to your healthcare provider, including depression, anxiety, restlessness, panic, irritability, impulsivity, or aggression.
Other serious side effects include: low white blood cell count, cataracts, seizures, abnormal thyroid tests, increase in prolactin levels, sleepiness, elevated body temperature, difficulty swallowing, insomnia, and vomiting.
Taking Seroquel may impair your ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor.
Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.
Elderly people with dementia can develop neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) from taking Seroquel. This is a rare, but serious condition that can cause a stroke resulting in death. If you experience high fever, sweating, rigid muscles, confusion, or changes in breathing or heartbeat, these could be warning signs of NMS and you should seek medical help at a hospital immediately.
Tell your doctor if you have diabetes or difficulty managing your blood sugar. Taking Seroquel can increase blood sugar which, when untreated, can cause ketoacidosis, coma, or death. Warning signs of hyperglycemia include: excessive thirst, frequent urination, feeling very hungry, weak, tired or nauseous, fruit-scented breath, and nausea. If you experience these, contact your healthcare provider.
Some people experience tardive dyskinesia, a condition which causes uncontrollable movements in the face, tongue, or other body parts. This may not go away, even if you stop taking Seroquel.
While taking Seroquel, your doctor should regularly monitor the fat levels in your blood (cholesterol and triglycerides), weight, and blood pressure. Seroquel can increase blood fat levels, cause weight gain, and create sudden changes in blood pressure, especially in children and teenagers.
The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
Precautions Associated with Seroquel
Store Seroquel in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Seroquel prescription with anyone, even another person with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.
You should not take Seroquel if you have an allergy to quetiapine fumarate or any of the ingredients in Seroquel. Before taking Seroquel, tell your doctor if you have a personal or family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, abnormal blood pressure, low white blood cell count, cataracts, seizures, abnormal thyroid, high prolactin levels, heart problems, or liver problems.
Do not become overheated or dehydrated while taking Seroquel. This includes avoiding extremely strenuous exercise, spending time in the sun, or wearing too heavy clothing.
If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Seroquel with your doctor. Especially when taken in the last three months of pregnancy, it is known to cause fetal harm. It is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking Seroquel, as it is unsafe for infants, and Seroquel passes into breastmilk.
Interactions Associated with Seroquel
Before taking Seroquel, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor.
Medications that inhibit or induce CYP3A4, an enzyme that metabolizes certain drugs, can increase or decrease how the body absorbs Seroquel. Physicians may need to increase or decrease Seroquel dosage when taken with prescriptions like ketoconazole, ritonavir, carbamazepine, and rifampin.
Seroquel can interact with certain antihypertensive agents, dopamine agonists, and levodopa.
Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications, you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, especially any drugs that cause drowsiness. Let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Seroquel before having any surgery or laboratory tests. Seroquel can alter the results of urine drug screens.
The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.