Anxiety Medication Overview of Seroquel

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but it is increasingly being prescribed off-label to treat anxiety disorders. Seroquel XR (extended-release tablets) is also FDA approved to treat major depressive disorder as add-on therapy in people taking an antidepressant medication. Some people who have not responded to traditional antidepressant therapy, such as SSRIs, may benefit from adding Seroquel to their treatment plan.

Studies on Seroquel treatment for bipolar disorder found that the drug appeared helpful in controlling symptoms of depression in bipolar patients, and also seemed to ease their anxiety levels. These findings led to new studies conducted in 2007 and 2008 to determine whether Seroquel might be an effective treatment for generalized anxiety disorder and major depression.

A two-month study comparing Seroquel and a placebo in people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder found that the drug did improve anxiety symptoms more than the placebo. Symptoms began improving by one week into the study and continued to improve throughout the two months. Another study found that Seroquel worked better than a placebo in improving depression symptoms, beginning as quickly as the fourth day of treatment.

The most commonly reported side effects of Seroquel include dry mouth, sedation, sleepiness, headaches, and dizziness. As with other antipsychotic medications, Seroquel carries a risk of a muscle disorder called tardive dyskinesia. This incurable neurological disorder may occur with prolonged use of Seroquel at a high dosage.

There are other rare but serious side effects associated with antipsychotic medications, such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and possible metabolic side effects that should be taken into consideration before beginning treatment with Seroquel.

Photo: Pixabay

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