HAVE YOU BEEN HARMED AFTER TAKING SEROQUEL?
Seroquel (quetiapine) is an atypical antipsychotic medication prescribed to people suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Manufactured by AstraZeneca, Seroquel has been on the market in the United States since 1997. Seroquel is prescribed to treat schizophrenia in people 13 years of age or older, bipolar disorder in adults, and manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder in children age 10 to 17.
Common symptoms associated with Seroquel include:
- High blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- High blood cholesterol
Unfortunately, Seroquel has been linked to more severe side effects as well. These side effects can cause serious injury and illness and may change a person’s quality of life drastically. In addition, this dangerous antipsychotic drug has also been linked to increasing the likelihood of death in some patient populations. If you or a loved one has suffered the ill effects of Seroquel, our experienced dangerous drug attorneys are available to evaluate your claim. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and illnesses.
SEROQUEL LINKED TO INCREASED RISK OF DEATH IN DEMENTIA PATIENTS
In 2005, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that antipsychotic medications, such as Seroquel, prescribed to treat mood disorders increased the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia. The FDA required all drug manufacturers of antipsychotics to include a black box warning on the labels warning consumers of this deadly risk.
The studies found that 15 out of 17 studies involving atypical antipsychotics (or second generation antipsychotics) resulted in an increase in mortality in patients receiving the drugs versus a placebo. In fact, the FDA found an overall 1.6 to 1.7 times increase in deaths, most of which were heart-related events. A few years later, the agency required all antipsychotics, first and second generation, to have the black box warning.
MOVEMENT DISORDERS CAUSED BY DANGEROUS ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS
Antipsychotics have been linked to a neurological disorder called tardive dyskinesia, which is characterized by repetitive involuntary movements of the face, eyes, mouth, or tongue. Other parts of the body may also be affected by the condition, such as the neck, torso, arms, and legs.
Tardive dyskinesia is oftentimes incurable and may take months or years to develop after taking antipsychotic medications. This life changing condition can prevent people from walking correctly and can lead to social isolation, increased emotional distress, and even suicide.
SEROQUEL MAY LEAD TO SUICIDAL THOUGHTS OR ACTIONS
Among the serious side effects that Seroquel may cause, one of the most frightening is the increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions when used as an antidepressant. The manufacturers warn of increased suicidality in children, teenagers, and young adults especially in the first few months of starting treatment.
Patients and family members are urged to watch for sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings. Changes in dosage may also cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your physician immediately:
- Thoughts about suicide or dying
- Attempts to commit suicide
- New or worsening depression
- New or worse anxiety
- Feeling agitated or restless
- Panic attacks
- Acting aggressive or violent
- Acting on dangerous impulses
If you have concerns regarding symptoms and side effects, contact your healthcare provider. Your safety and well-being is always paramount.
WHAT IS NEUROLEPTIC MALIGNANT SYNDROME (NMS)?
Seroquel has been linked to an increased risk of developing a rare but potentially deadly condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, or NMS. NMS symptoms include:
- Muscle rigidity
- Altered mental status
- Cardiac dysrhythmia
- Kidney failure
If NMS is not recognized and addressed promptly, it can lead to death. Unfortunately, NMS symptoms can mimic other more likely conditions, making it difficult for healthcare providers to recognize, diagnose, and treat the condition quickly. Treatment may include ending the use of Seroquel, or if it has been previously discontinued, to start the drug again.
HYPERGLYCEMIA AND DIABETES CAUSED BY SEROQUEL
The use of second generation antipsychotics such as Seroquel has been linked to an increased risk of patients developing hyperglycemia and diabetes. The FDA requires Seroquel drug labels to include the risk in the patient medicine guide, which states the risk of ketoacidosis, coma, or death associated with high blood sugar.
The FDA urges caution when considering starting Seroquel in patients with certain risk factors, including obesity and a family history of diabetes. Unfortunately, many patients who develop hyperglycemia after taking atypical antipsychotics require continuous treatment of the disorder even after discontinuing the antipsychotic. Patients taking Seroquel who development the following symptoms should contact their physician immediately:
- Urinating more than usual
- Extreme thirst and hunger
- Sick stomach
SEROQUEL MANUFACTURER SETTLES FEDERAL LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL MARKETING
In 2010, Seroquel manufacturer AstraZeneca settled a lawsuit with the United States Department of Justice after the company improperly promoted drugs for unapproved uses. AstraZeneca paid $520 million in a settlement in which the prosecution alleged that the pharmaceutical company pushed the antipsychotic drug Seroquel for unapproved uses for children, elderly, veterans, and prisoners.
AstraZeneca’s legal problems did not stop there. In addition, more than 25,000 civil lawsuits were filed against the Seroquel manufacturer for overplaying misleading research and failing to disclose studies that showed Seroquel’s increased risk of causing diabetes. Emails were eventually released showing employees lauding the success of their “smoke-and-mirrors” campaign to push the drug. In 2011, AstraZeneca has settled the vast majority of the more than 25,000 lawsuits waged against them.
According to the New York Times, an estimated $1.9 billion will be spent defending and settling cases related to Seroquel’s link to diabetes.
OTHER SEVERE LIFE-CHANGING SIDE EFFECTS CAUSED BY SEROQUEL
There are a host of additional side effects that could cause pain, suffering, and a decreased quality of life. These side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Decreased blood pressure
- Low white blood cell count
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble sleeping or staying sleep
- Difficulty thinking or performing normal activities
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED TEAM OF DANGEROUS DRUG LAWYERS
Seroquel is an antipsychotic drug with many serious, potentially fatal side effects. If you or a loved one has suffered from any of the side effects listed above or any other negative effects of the drug, contact Thomas J. Henry. Pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed to people to help them feel better and improve their quality of life. When they start doing the opposite and put your life at risk, drug manufacturers need to pay. Our experience pharmaceutical litigation attorneys are available to evaluate your case and provide you with a free consultation. Don’t wait, call us today.