Benefits of Seroquel
Seroquel® (quetiapine fumarate) is an atypical antipsychotic medication often used for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. At this time, it is only approved for use in adults.
There are many benefits of Seroquel. In previous clinical studies, people taking the drug for schizophrenia experienced improvement in their schizophrenia symptoms (including hallucinations and suspiciousness) when compared to those not taking the drug.
Previous clinical studies have also shown Seroquel to be effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder. In these studies, the drug was effective for treating episodes of mania or depression and also helped prevent symptoms of bipolar disorder from returning. For bipolar depression episodes, Seroquel reduced suicidal thinking and improved the overall quality of life. For bipolar mania episodes, it helped to decrease the manic symptoms.
Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic medication that is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. While it cannot cure these conditions, the medication is generally successful in helping to manage symptoms. Seroquel comes in tablet form and is believed to block or lessen the effect of certain chemicals in the brain. Possible side effects include dry mouth, headaches, and dizziness.
Seroquel® (quetiapine fumarate) is a prescription medication that is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Who Makes Seroquel?
The drug is manufactured by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
How Does It Work?
Seroquel belongs to a group of medications called atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotic medications. It is not entirely known how Seroquel works in the treatment of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, it is known that the medication blocks or lessens the effects of several chemicals in the brain. These chemicals (such as dopamine and serotonin) may be elevated in people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression).
This medication is not a cure for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. It only helps to control symptoms (see Symptoms of Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder Symptoms).
In previous clinical studies of Seroquel for the treatment of schizophrenia, people taking the drug experienced improvement in their schizophrenia symptoms (including hallucinations and suspiciousness) when compared to those not taking the drug.
Previous clinical studies have also shown it to be effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder. In these studies, the drug was effective for treating episodes of mania or depression and also helped prevent symptoms of bipolar disorder from returning. For bipolar depression episodes, Seroquel reduced suicidal thinking and improved the overall quality of life. For bipolar mania episodes, it helped to decrease the manic symptoms.
When and How to Take Seroquel
General considerations for when and how to take the medication include the following:
- Seroquel comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth one to three times a day. If you are taking the medication once a day, it is usually best to take it at bedtime.
- You can take the medication with or without food. If it bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
- It should be taken at the same time(s) each day to maintain even levels in your blood.
- For the drug to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.
The dosage that your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- The medical condition being treated
- The severity of your condition
- Other medical conditions you may have
- Other medications you may be currently taking.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
Seroquel Drug Interactions
When certain medications are taken with Seroquel, drug interactions may occur. Medicines that may have negative interactions include certain antibiotics or antifungals, lorazepam, and thioridazine.
Seroquel drug interactions can decrease the effectiveness of both medications, increase the drug levels in your blood, or cause the drugs to lose their effectiveness, so your healthcare provider may adjust your dosages as necessary.
- Certain antibiotics or antifungals, including:
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin®)
- Erythromycin (Ery-Tab®)
- Isoniazid (Nydrazid®)
- Itraconazole (Sporanox®)
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral®)
- Telithromycin (Ketek®)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet®)
- Divalproex (Depakote®, Depakote ER®)
- Lorazepam (Ativan®)
- Medications that cause a certain change in heart rhythm (see QT-Prolonging Medications for a list)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®)
- Thioridazine (Mellaril®).
Seroquel Interactions Explained
The following sections explain in detail the potentially negative interactions that can occur when Seroquel is combined with any of the drugs listed above.
Patients are generally advised to avoid alcohol while taking Seroquel. Combining the two may cause unwanted side effects (see Alcohol and Seroquel).
Certain Antibiotics or Antifungals
Taking Seroquel with certain antibiotics or antifungal medications may increase the level of Seroquel in your blood, potentially increasing your risk of Seroquel side effects. Your healthcare provider may need to lower your Seroquel dosage to prevent interactions with these drugs from occurring.
Combining Seroquel with cimetidine may increase the level of Seroquel in your blood, possibly increasing your risk of side effects. Your healthcare provider may need to lower your Seroquel dosage, although this is not always necessary.
If Seroquel is taken with divalproex, this may increase the level of Seroquel in your blood, which may increase your risk of side effects. Combining these medications can also decrease the level of divalproex in your blood, possibly decreasing its effectiveness. Your healthcare provider may need to lower your dose of Seroquel and increase your divalproex dosage to prevent this interaction from occurring.
Taking lorazepam with Seroquel can increase the level of lorazepam in your blood, potentially increasing your risk of lorazepam side effects. Your healthcare provider may need to lower your lorazepam dosage as a result.
Medications That Cause QT Prolongation
Many medications, including Seroquel, have a tendency to cause a change in the heart rhythm known as QT prolongation. If severe enough, this can be fatal. Combining Seroquel with other medications with this potential increases the risk. Check with your healthcare provider before combining Seroquel with other QT-prolonging medications.
Combining Seroquel with phenytoin can decrease the level of Seroquel in your blood, perhaps making it less effective. To prevent this, your healthcare provider may need to increase your dose of Seroquel.
Taking Seroquel with thioridazine can decrease the level of Seroquel in your blood, perhaps making it less effective. Your healthcare provider may need to increase your Seroquel dosage to prevent this drug interaction from occurring.
Final Thoughts on Seroquel Drug Interactions
It is possible that not all Seroquel drug interactions were discussed in this article. Therefore, you should talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the specific drug interactions that may apply to you.