Seroquel (Quetiapine) Dosage and Side Effects
This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood conditions (including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia). Quetiapine is known as an anti-psychotic drug (atypical type). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain. This medication can decrease hallucinations and improve your concentration. It helps you to think more clearly and positively about yourself, feel less nervous, and take a more active part in everyday life. Quetiapine can help prevent severe mood swings or decrease how often mood swings occur.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional. Quetiapine may also be used in combination with other medication to treat depression. If you are using quetiapine in combination with other medication to treat depression, carefully read the drug information for the other medication.
Warnings and Precautions
WARNING: Older adults with dementia may have a slightly increased risk of death when taking this medication. Most deaths have been due to heart problems (such as heart attack, heart failure) or serious infections (such as pneumonia). This medication is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related behavior problems. Talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment with this medication.
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking quetiapine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: eye cataracts, liver disease, low white blood cell count, seizure disorder, trouble swallowing, thyroid problems. Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if either you or a family member has a history of the following: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol/triglyceride levels, obesity. This drug may make you dizzy, drowsy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Quetiapine may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away. The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may affect the heart rhythm. Before using quetiapine, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death). Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using quetiapine safely. This medication can make you more likely to get heat stroke, a very serious condition. Avoid activities that might cause you to overheat (such as doing strenuous work/exercise in hot weather, using hot tubs). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Children may be at higher risk for certain side effects while taking this medication, such as increased blood pressure or increased prolactin (see also Side Effects section). Talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. Babies born to mothers who have used this drug during the last 3 months of pregnancy may infrequently develop symptoms including muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, feeding/breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn anytime during their first month, tell the doctor right away. This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Interactions with this medication
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Many drugs besides quetiapine may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including amiodarone, moxifloxacin, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, thioridazine, among others. Other medications can affect the removal of quetiapine from your body, which may affect how quetiapine works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins (such as rifampin), drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), among others. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including urine tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
Proper Use of this medication
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using quetiapine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times daily with or without food. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue taking this medication as prescribed even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as trouble sleeping, nausea, headache, diarrhea, irritability. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased to reduce side effects. Report any new or worsening symptoms immediately. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Constipation, drowsiness, upset stomach, tiredness, weight gain, blurred vision, or dry mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly. Dizziness or lightheadedness may occur, especially when you first start or increase your dose of this drug. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: restlessness/constant need to move, shakiness (tremor), signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat), mental/mood changes (such as increased anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide), difficulty swallowing. Get medical help right away if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat, seizure, severe dizziness. This medication may infrequently make your blood sugar level rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms of high blood sugar, such as increased thirst and urination. If you already have diabetes, be sure to check your blood sugars regularly. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet. This drug may also cause significant weight gain and a rise in your blood cholesterol (or triglyceride) levels. These effects, along with diabetes, may increase your risk for developing heart disease. Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor. (See also Notes section.) Quetiapine may rarely cause a condition known as tardive dyskinesia. In some cases, this condition may be permanent. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any unusual/uncontrolled movements (especially of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, arms or legs). This drug may rarely cause a serious condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Get medical help right away if you develop the following: fever, muscle stiffness, severe confusion, sweating, fast/irregular heartbeat. Quetiapine may increase a certain natural substance (prolactin) made by your body. For females, this increase in prolactin may result in unwanted breast milk, missed/stopped periods, or difficulty becoming pregnant. For males, it may result in decreased sexual ability, inability to produce sperm, or enlarged breasts. If you develop any of these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately. Rarely, males may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours. If this occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Other related product
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.