Seroquel is the brand name for the prescription drug quetiapine fumarate, approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. An antipsychotic produced by AstraZeneca, the drug is effective, but has many possible side effects which can lead people to discontinue its use. The drug is not addicting, but withdrawal symptoms can occur because the brain adjusts to a decrease in this type of medication.
People may decide to discontinue using Seroquel for several reasons. They may not like the way they feel while taking the drug, or they may feel so much better that they may believe their mental disorder has been cured. There also are many unpleasant and even dangerous side effects associated with Seroquel which lead people to stop taking it.
Possible Seroquel side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, weight gain, high blood glucose and diabetes. Seroquel use also is linked to two central nervous system disorders: tardive dyskinesia, which causes involuntary facial movements, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a potentially fatal condition. The drug is also associated with serious and sometimes fatal cardiac problems, particularly when prescribed for the off-label use of treating dementia in elderly people.
Withdrawal Side Effects
People choosing to discontinue using Seroquel should do so gradually under the supervision of their physician. Withdrawal symptoms are much less likely if people taper off their use rather than stopping abruptly. Withdrawal side effects can include nausea and vomiting, abnormal involuntary muscle movements and insomnia.
Insomnia is a special case for certain Seroquel users. Some physicians prescribe it for the off-label use of treating sleep problems, because it can have a sedative effect, and is non-addicting, unlike many other sleep medications. When a person withdraws from Seroquel, however, it can create a rebound insomnia effect that can last up to 3 weeks, or in rare cases even longer.
Symptoms of the original disorder may reoccur worse than before when someone stops taking Seroquel. Schizophrenia symptoms could include delusions, or audio or visual hallucinations. Bipolar disorder patients might experience a resurgence of depression or mania.
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