Quetiapine is an antipsychotic drug commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Its brand name is Seroquel and it may be prescribed for use alone or in combination with other medications. Like other antipsychotic drugs, Seroquel helps control psychotic behavior by blocking nerve receptors in the brain as changes in brain activity help create changes in behavior. In 1977, quetiapine was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for its use in the treatment of schizophrenia. In 2004, the USFDA approved it for the treatment of bipolar disorder and today, Seroquel may be prescribed for various sleep and anxiety disorders.
If antipsychotic medications are used for a long period of time, there is a chance that a neurological disorder called tardive dyskinesia may result. Tardive dyskinesia involves involuntary movements — mostly in the face, such as lip movements and eye blinking. Involuntary movements of the hands or feet may also occur. Tardive dyskinesia could present months or even years after drugs such as quetiapine have been stopped. For this reason, doctors usually prescribe the lowest effective doses of antipsychotic drugs to patients.
Quetiapine is widely prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, as it is thought to help control the manic episodes associated with the disorder. Manic episodes vary with each bipolar individual, but speaking rapidly, sleeping very little and engaging in impulsive behavior are common. The impulsive behaviors may include shopping sprees, sexual affairs or bad investment deals. Quetiapine is also commonly prescribed to schizophrenics to help reduce hallucinations. Hallucinations are the experiences of hearing voices and seeing things that aren't there as well as feelings of persecution or false powers.
When hallucinations are controlled through medications such as quetiapine, schizophrenics and bipolar people may be able to function well in society and be able to hold down jobs. It may take a few weeks for the effects of quetiapine to begin changing brain chemistry. Diabetics have to be especially cautious when taking quetiapine, as it may cause high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Other side effects of Seroquel or quetiapine include low blood pressure or hypotension as well as dizziness, weight gain, headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, and fatigue.
Like many other prescribed drugs, quetiapine is sometimes illegally sold and abused by drug addicts. Its street names include Susie Q, Quell and Baby Heroin. It is crushed and snorted through the nose and some addicts mix it with cocaine. This illegal and dangerous use of quetiapine may include injecting it in the body intravenously.