Quetiapine is an antipsychotic medicine used in the treatment of schizophrenia,
mood swings (bipolar disorder) and depressive disorder.
Uses of Quetiapine
- Mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think or behave properly (Schizophrenia)
- Mood swings ranging from feeling low (depression) to very high (maniac) – a condition known as bipolar disorder
- To treat patients suffering from major depressive disorders (MDDs) who are not responsing to regular medicines
- For prevention of repeat episodes of depression
Contraindications of Quetiapine
When should one not use Quetiapine
- If you are allergic to the medicine or any other substances used to make this medicine
- Do not take Quetiapine if you are taking any of the following:
- If you are taking some medicines for HIV (Protease inhibitors – Atazanavir, Lopinavir)
- If you are taking medicines used to treat fungal infections (Ketoconazole, Posaconazole, Itraconazole, etc.)
- If you are taking Erythromycin or Clarithromycin (for infections)
- If you are taking Nefazodone (for depression)
Side effects of Quetiapine
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Dizziness, weakness, feeling sleepy
- Symptoms of discontinuation when you stop taking Quetiapine (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling irritated)
- Low blood pressure, swelling of hands and legs
- Unpleasant dreams & nightmares, suicidal thoughts
- Blurred vision, difficulty in speaking
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weight gain, increased appetite
- Changes in the blood levels of following – fats, triglycerides, thyroid hormones, decreased blood cells, increased blood sugar levels, elevated liver enzymes, high prolactin levels
- Seizures (fits)
- Combination of flu-like symptoms, fever, sore throat
- Unpleasant sensation in the legs (restless legs syndrome)
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Stuffy nose
- Allergic symptoms - itching, hives, rash and swelling of lips, face, throat, etc.
- High fever, muscle stiffness, fever, drowsiness (neuroleptic malignant syndrome)
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice), liver disease
- Worsening symptoms, e.g. anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, agitation, aggressiveness, etc.
- Formation of blood clots (severe)
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- A combination of any 3 of the following – increase in fat around abdomen, decrease in good cholesterol (HDL-C), high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels (metabolic syndrome)
Precautions and Warnings of Quetiapine
Can I take Quetiapine during pregnancy?
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before Quetiapine. Though there is no evidence of the potential to harm the baby, Quetiapine is recommended to be used in pregnant women only if no alternatives exist.
Can I take Quetiapine while breastfeeding?
Studies indicate that Quetiapine is secreted in breast milk, but the quantity is not established. Hence, it is recommended not to continue with the medication if you are breastfeeding, to prevent any harmful effects to the baby.
Can I drive if I have consumed Quetiapine?
Do not drive while on Quetiapine as it acts on the brain and you may feel drowsy.
Can I consume alcohol with Quetiapine?
Be careful of how much alcohol you drink. This is because the combined effect of Quetiapine and alcohol can make you sleepy, as alcohol also affects the brain. Only mild drinking may be permitted.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Low blood pressure
- Brain stroke, especially if you are an elderly patient (above 65 years)
- Any liver problems
- Fits (seizures)
- Diabetes or at risk
Mode of Action of Quetiapine
How Does It Work?
It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) such as Serotonin and Dopamine in the brain. Increased levels of these substances may cause depression or mood swings....
Interactions of Quetiapine
Interactions with other medicines
- Anti-seizure medications (Phenytoin, Carbamazepine, etc.)
- Medicines used to treat high blood pressure (BP)
- Sleeping pills (Barbiturates)
- Other anti-psychotic or anti-depression medicines (Lithium, Thioridazine)
- Medicines for heart diseases
- Medicines that may block your nerve impulses (anticholinergics-Atropine, Dicyclomine, etc.)
- Antibiotics or any other medicines used to treat infections
- Medicines used to treat HIV/ AIDS (Protease inhibitors – Atazanavir, Lopinavir)
- Medicines used to treat fungal infections (Ketoconazole, Posaconazole, Itraconazole, etc.)
- Antibiotics (Erythromycin, Clarithromycin, etc.)
- Nefazodone (for depression)
Interactions with food items
Quetiapine may interact with food, and you are advised to take your tablets at least one hour before a meal or before going to bed.
Dietary Restrictions of Quetiapine
Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are taking Quetiapine.
Dosage of Quetiapine
The effects of an overdose may be lethal and need immediate medical attention. The symptoms of overdose can be – seizures, breathing difficulty, shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, confusion, drowsiness, sedation, etc. If you experience any of these effects or feel uncomfortable, seek medical attention immediately....
Missed a Dose
If you miss a dose, take medicine when you remember the missed dose. If it is almost time for your next dose (less than 6-8 hours), do not take the missed dose and continue with the regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose....
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are there any other precautions I need to follow while taking Quetiapine?
- Do not stop the medicine suddenly. It may cause discontinuation symptoms like sleeplessness (insomnia), dizziness, irritability, nausea, vomiting, headache or diarrhea
- Speak to your doctor if you do not want to take this medicine and he will reduce the dose gradually
- Self-medication and adjusting the dose on your own is strictly not recommended with this medicine
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