Quetiapine belongs to the group of medications known asatypical antipsychotics. These drugs are used to treat conditions such asschizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The exact mechanism of action of these medications isunknown but in theory atypical antipsychotics affect some of thereceptors in the brain and improve the medical condition of treated patients.
Patients on the quetiapine treatment might experience somenervous system side effects. The most common are agitation, anxiety, vertigo, tremorand sleepiness. There were some cases of dreaming and thinking problems,confusion, coordination issues, libido changes, Parkinsonism and other problems,but those can’t be associated with the use of this medication only. Quetiapine extended-releasetablets may cause dizziness, sleepiness and sedation. Some of the patients may have hallucinations, delusions,manic or suicidal episodes, euphoria or psychosis.
Gastrointestinal adverse effects could also appear,including dry mouth, vomiting, constipation and also dyspepsia and gastroenteritis.In rare cases, there were records of increased levels of glutamyltranspeptidase. These effects are usually more prominent with the use of extended-releasequetiapine tablets.
Quetiapine is proven to increase the risk of death and venousthromboembolism in elderly. For that reason the FDA has not approved thismedication to be used by elderly patients. The most recorded causes of death inelderly were cardiovascular problems, like heart failure and sudden death, andpneumonia.
Cardiovascular side effects might include tachycardia,palpitation and postural hypotension. Orthostatic hypotension is the known sideeffect of extended-release quetiapine.
This drug can also cause rhinitis and pharyngitis, andsometimes cough, dyspnea, asthma and hyperventilation.
Patients often reported headaches, abdominal problems, ear,back and other pain, fever and asthenia.
Patients taking quetiapine are more likely to develop hyperglycemia,diabetes mellitus, problems with secretion of antidiuretic hormone and thyroid problems.
Quetiapine may lead to vision difficulties, such as amblyopiaand photopsia, or some genitourinary problems. It could cause muscle, bone andjoint pain, cramps, fractures or even rhabdomyolysis.
Some of the people treated with this medication haveexperienced some weight gain. After a year or two of the treatment, patientsgain 3 to 5kg. This drug could also increase liver enzymes,especially aminotransferases (AST and ALT).
Quetiapine might lead to elevation of cholesterol levelsin the blood, especially “bad” LDL cholesterol. Sometimes, use of this drug is associatedwith numbers of hematologic issues, but there were no conclusive links betweenquetiapine and the illnesses.
Acute kidney failure, cholestasis (hepatic problem) and anaphylacticreaction can also be caused by quetiapine.
Some of the quetiapine patients may have problems with rashand sweating. Acne, eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis and other skin problems werealso reported, but can’t be associated exclusively with this medication. A rare side effect of quetiapine is erythemamultiforme minor.