Seroquel (Quetiapine) Side Effects, How it Works, Upsides, Downsides & Tips

Seroquel is used to treat certain mood or mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression associated with bipolar disorder, or sudden episodes of mania. This antipsychotic drug helps to restore the balance of certain natural substances present in the brain. Seroquel can improve concentration and decrease hallucinations. It helps to think more positively and clearly, be more active in everyday life, and feel less nervous.

Seroquel is particularly helpful in improving your sleep, appetite, mood, and energy levels. It can also help decrease episodes of mood swings and prevent severe mood swings. Seroquel is prescribed for schizophrenia in adults and children who are over 13 years old and for bipolar disorder in adults and children who are over 10 years old.

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Side effects

Common side effects of Seroquel are:

  • Weight gain
  • Sleepiness
  • Indigestion
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness

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Use of Seroquel can also result in the following side effects:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Irritability
  • Increased appetite
  • Unusual dreams
  • Nipple discharge
  • Clumsiness
  • Missed periods in women
  • Breast enlargement in men
  • Trouble concentrating, speaking, or thinking clearly
  • Loss of interest in sex

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There is also a risk of the following serious side effects while you are taking Seroquel:

  • Fever with symptoms of infection
  • A painful erection that lasts for hours
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
  • Seizures
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Uncontrollable body movements
  • Fever with weakness, muscle stiffness, and sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Having suicidal thoughts
  • Skin blistering or severe rash
  • Swelling of face, tongue or lips

How to use Seroquel

Make sure that you read the information provided with Seroquel. It is taken by mouth, usually two or three times daily, with or without food. For patients who have depression as a result of bipolar disease need to take this medicine once before bedtime. Although dosage varies depending on various individual’s condition, it can be taken in low doses to reduce the risk of side effects.

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Take Seroquel every day at the same time to get maximum benefits. Do not exceed the prescribed dosage as taking it in higher doses will not help to improve your condition faster. Do not stop using Seroquel even if you feel better unless advised by your doctor as it may aggravate your condition. To counter the side effects, you will need to reduce the dosage gradually.

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Precaution

Avoid Seroquel in older people who have dementia, a mental condition which causes changes in personality and mood decreased memory and confused thinking, as it could prove fatal. Use of Seroquel also increases the risk of suicide. This risk is higher in people at the beginning of the treatment, when the dosage is increased, or in people who are younger than 24.

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If you have the following symptoms while taking Seroquel, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Extreme worry
  • Signs of aggression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Irritability
  • Worsening depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness
  • Abnormal excitement
  • Acting without thinking

While you are taking Seroquel, avoid excessive exercise, especially in hot weather. Drink plenty of water and fluids while taking Seroquel especially if you are outside in hot weather. Do not stop taking Seroquel suddenly as it could cause withdrawal symptoms such as sleep problems, vomiting, and nausea. Seroquel also increases the risk of diabetes, therefore, share with your doctor if you have a medical history of diabetes in your family.
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Before taking Seroquel, consult with your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Cataracts
  • History of heart attack
  • High cholesterol
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent diarrhea or nausea
  • Seizures
  • History of stroke
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Neutropenia or leukopenia
  • History of cancer
  • Liver disease