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Seroquel is an atypical anti-psychotic medication used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Manufactured by AstraZeneca, Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is an oral medication that works by affecting neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Seroquel in 1997 as a psychotropic medication and then again in 2006 for treatment of depressive episodes related to bipolar I and II. It is currently the only agent approved for this purpose. In addition, Seroquel is used as an off-label treatment of other disorders such as alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette syndrome. It is also used as a sedative to treat sleep and anxiety disorders.

Side Effects

Along with common, minor side effects, Seroquel is associated with serious conditions, including:

  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: Potentially fatal condition affecting the central nervous system and can cause irregular heartbeat, sweating, fluctuating blood pressure, stiff muscles and fever.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia: Disorder causing uncontrollable movement of the face, jaw, mouth and tongue.
  • Diabetes: Studies have shown that the use of Seroquel and other atypical anti-psychotic medications may cause weight gain, high blood sugar, increased cholesterol levels and diabetes. Seroquel has also been attributed to hyperglycemia.

Seroquel Linked to Elderly Death

Clinical studies have shown that Seroquel may increase the risk of death in elderly patients being treated for dementia. In most cases, deaths linked to Seroquel were a result of pneumonia or heart failure.
In 2005, the FDA ordered a black-box warning to be added to the Seroquel label warning of the potential for death. The FDA maintains that the drug was not approved for the treatment of elderly patients suffering from dementia.
To learn more about legal claims relating to Seroquel, consult an attorney who practices in the area of drugs and medical devices.