Seroquel and Depression

Seroquel and DepressionSeroquel is the brand name of the atypical anti-psychotic medication quetiapine. Seroquel first received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 for the treatment of schizophrenia, in 2004 for manic symptoms of bipolar disorder and in 2009 for bipolar depression. Currently these are the only indicated uses of Seroquel.

However, Seroquel has been used off-label (in the treatment of conditions other than those for which it is indicated) to treat a wide variety of psychological conditions and mood disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia and major or unipolar depression. Seroquel appears to be effective in the treatment of many of these conditions, but due to its possible side effects off-label use remains controversial and has led to numerous lawsuits. The manufacturer of Seroquel, AstraZeneca, was sued by the U.S. government in 2009 (stemming from a Qui Tam lawsuit filed by a private citizen) over its aggressive marketing of Seroquel for unapproved, off-label uses; AstraZeneca eventually settled the lawsuit for $520 million. Seroquel may be effective in treating major depression, but should be used with extreme discretion under the direction of a prescribing physician.

Possible Side Effects of Seroquel Use

Seroquel has been linked to the deaths of at least six U.S. military personnel who were being treated for PTSD with a cocktail of drugs including Seroquel. Common side effects of Seroquel include the following:

  • Sleepiness
  • Sluggishness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Upset stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Orthostatic hypotension (excessive relaxation)
  • Inflammation of the sinuses
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Cataracts

Seroquel Abuse, Dependence, Overdose and Withdrawal

Seroquel is not currently scheduled as a Controlled Substance, and only anecdotal evidence exists of Seroquel abuse. Abusers seek the drug for its sedative qualities, and sometimes combine it with other substances such as cocaine or opioids. Abusers may take Seroquel in pill form, crush it and snort it or dissolve it into a liquid to be injected.

Overdose of Seroquel usually results only in extreme sedation and hypotension, but cardiac arrhythmia, coma and death are possible and have occurred.

Those who use Seroquel for any extended length of time may develop dependence and experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug. Users should reduce the dosage gradually when stopping use of Seroquel and should avoid rapid discontinuation of Seroquel to avoid withdrawal symptoms as well as rebound symptoms of the treated condition. Possible withdrawal symptoms of Seroquel include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hypotension
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a serious condition with a multitude of possible causes. Simple depression occurs to nearly everyone at some point and responds well to therapy and the improvement of circumstances. Major depression (also known as unipolar depression) on the other hand, is a more serious clinical condition that may require professional treatment including medication therapy. There are a variety of typical and atypical anti-depressants available, and determining which one will be most effective for a given patient requires the expertise of a doctor or psychiatrist. Medication is most often used in conjunction with other methods of treatment such as counseling and support groups.

If you would like help finding treatment for depression, or if you have any questions about depression, treatment, Seroquel or other anti-depressants, please call our toll-free 24 hour helpline today to speak with one of our trained counselors. We can answer your questions and discuss treatment options that are right for you.