Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic medication prescribed for psychotic disorders, major depression and bipolar disorder. In addition, it is indicated for anxiety and sleep disorders. Quetiapine is a generic medications and the commonly available brand name of Quetiapine is Seroquel.
Mechanism of action of Quetiapine
Quetiapine blocks dopamine receptors in the brain. In addition, this medication blocks naturally occurring serotonin actions in certain brain areas. Dopamine action treats psychosis and serotonin action prevents the some side effects of dopamine inhibition.
Quetiapine also partially blocks serotonin 5HT1A and 5HT2C receptors in the brain. In addition, Quetiapine blocks the norepinephrine reuptake pumps in the brain. This action increases the norepinephrine levels in certain brain areas. These actions are responsible for its effectiveness in bipolar and depressive disorders.
Quetiapine is unique drug, because it lacks most of the problematic side effects other antipsychotics are known for. These are movement related side effects called extrapyramidal effects. These include acute dystonia (abnormal, painful and automatic contraction of muscles in tongue, neck and other areas), drug induced Parkinsonism and akathesia (inability to keep the legs in one place). Therefore doctors prescribe Quetiapine for the patients with Parkinson’s disease and psychosis.
Common side effects of Quetiapine
Quetiapine causes drowsiness and sedation. In fact, it is prescribed take advantage of this effect in insomnia. Therefore, the patient must not operate machinery or drive motor vehicles until he knows how Quetiapine affects him. In addition, Quetiapine is known to cause significant weight gain. However, this can be prevented by adhering to a proper weight reduction program.
In addition, Quetiapine is known to increase blood sugar and triglyceride levels. This can increase the cardiovascular risk in susceptible individuals. In addition, this can cause problems with diabetes control. Therefore, patients with diabetes and ischemic heart disease need to inform it to their doctor.
In addition, Quetiapine can cause dry mouth, constipation, headache and gastritis. Some may experience blurred vision and rhinitis.
Rare side effects of Quetiapine
Quetiapine is known to cause dysarthria or difficulty in articulating words. In addition, some patients may experience difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia. Quetiapine can also increase the chance of getting fits or seizure. Yellowish discoloration of the body or jaundice is another quite rare side effect due to hepatic dysfunction. In addition, Liver failure can occur very rarely with Quetiapine.
Some patients can rarely experience allergic reactions with Quetiapine. It can rarely precipitate an anaphylactic reaction, characterized by wide spread hives, edema of the lips and tongue, chest tightness and shortness of breath. The patient must seek emergency medical when this happens.
Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic medication prescribed for psychosis, bipolar disorder, anxiety, sleep disorders and depression. However, it can cause various side effects including weight gain and drowsiness.
Stahl essential psychopharmacology 3rd edition
British National Formulary