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  • Seroquel & Seroquel XR (Quetiapine Fumarate) | Uses, Effects, & Abuse

    Seroquel & Seroquel XR (Quetiapine Fumarate) | Uses, Effects, & Abuse

    Seroquel and Seroquel XR are the brand names for quetiapine fumarate. Seroquel offers immediate-release tablets while Seroquel XR provides an extended-release. 

    Known as an atypical antipsychotic or a second-generation antipsychotic (SGA), Seroquel is used to help treat a variety of mental health symptoms caused by schizophrenia

    Seroquel also helps to rebalance dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. This not only improves behavior but mood and thinking as well. 

    Seroquel Abuse Potential

    Although Seroquel is meant to be an antipsychotic drug, it has the potential to be abused. Although likely limited to prison and inpatient psychiatric settings, abuse of Seroquel can occur.

    Polysubstance Use

    Combining other drugs and alcohol with this medication can be dangerous as numerous drug interactions may take place. Other drugs such as benzodiazepines and opioids can cause excessive sedation and respiratory depression. 

    Those abusing Seroquel with other drugs may see the worsening of symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Adding alcohol may cause an increased incidence of accidents such as falls or car crashes.

    Uses Of Seroquel

    Seroquel is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia such as:

    • hallucinations
    • disorganized thinking
    • delusions
    • difficulty speaking clearly
    • lack of motivation

    Major Depressive Disorder

    Seroquel has also been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat major depressive disorder. Typically, the antipsychotic Seroquel will be combined with an antidepressant to treat major depressive disorder.

    Bipolar Disorder

    In addition to the treatment of schizophrenia, Seroquel can also be used as acute treatment for manic episodes and depressive episodes that occur in those who suffer from bipolar disorder.

    According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), those who use Seroquel for bipolar disorder long-term may also be prescribed other medications such as lithium to help treat their mental health condition.

    Common Side Effects Of Seroquel

    When taken on its own, Seroquel may cause common side effects such as:

    • increased appetite
    • dry mouth
    • dizziness
    • sedation
    • ​orthostatic hypotension
    • increased blood pressure
    • fatigue
    • drowsiness
    • increased heart rate
    • cholesterol problems
    • constipation
    • increased glucose

    Adverse Effects Of Seroquel

    More serious side effects of this medication include erectile problems in men and period changes for women. Production of breast milk in nursing mothers who are breastfeeding their child may be interrupted. This is caused by an increase in the body’s prolactin levels.

    Tardive Dyskinesia (TD)

    In addition to this, the prolonged use of antipsychotic drugs can lead to tardive dyskinesia (TD) which causes abnormal involuntary movements of the body. 

    High Blood Sugar

    Those who have a family history of diabetes may not want to take Seroquel as it has the potential to cause you to develop high blood sugar. 

    Cholesterol Levels

    Antipsychotic medications such as Seroquel may cause weight gain which can lead to a rise in blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Those who have a low white blood cell count will likely need to avoid Seroquel. 

    Heart Problems & Risks For The Elderly

    Antipsychotics may cause sudden cardiac death caused by heart problems such as arrhythmias. Older adults who have dementia and take this drug have an increased risk of death as well as developing dementia-related psychosis which can also lead to death. 

    Neurological Issues 

    A serious condition known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) causes symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, and excessive sweating. Seroquel may affect the medications one takes for Parkinson’s disease, causing them to experience more symptoms. 

    In young adults, suicidal thoughts may occur.

    Mental Health Treatment

    Those suffering from mental health conditions likely start with low doses of medication and then work their way up to the appropriate dose. Your doctor will take a look at your records to understand your medical condition and then decide which medication is right for you.

    Contact your healthcare provider if you need to change your dosing requirements. The discontinuation of antipsychotic medications should never be abrupt. 

    Withdrawal symptoms may occur such as vomiting, nausea, and sleeping difficulties. Always discuss drug information with a health care professional. 

    If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, contact us today for information on our treatment programs.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Australian Prescriber - Concerns About Quetiapine
    Matrix Medical Communications: Psychiatry - Is Seroquel Developing an Illicit Reputation for Misuse/Abuse?
    National Alliance on Mental Illness - Quetiapine (Seroquel)
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Quetiapine
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Quetiapine

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 24, 2022
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