Seroquel (Quetiapine) Side Effects

Bipolar Medications Library

Seroquel
Pillbox/Seroquel

Seroquel (quetiapine) is an atypical antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia and the psychotic features of other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Patients taking Seroquel should be aware of the potential side effects.

Common Side Effects of Seroquel

Check with your doctor if any of the following common side effects don't go away or are bothersome:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness, or fainting, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal vision
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Decreased strength and energy
  • Feeling of fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Increased sweating
  • Stuffy or runny nose

Serious Side Effects of Seroquel

Along with its needed effects, Seroquel (quetiapine) can sometimes cause serious side effects. Some side effects will have symptoms that you can see or feel. Your doctor may watch for others, such as changes in the lenses of the eyes, by doing certain tests.

Tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder, may occur and may not go away after you stop using Seroquel. Signs of tardive dyskinesia include fine, worm-like movements of the tongue, or other uncontrolled movements of the mouth, tongue, cheeks, jaw, or arms and legs.

You and your doctor should discuss the good this medicine will do, as well as the risks of taking it.

When to Seek Emergency Help

Another serious but extremely rare side effect that may occur as a result of taking Seroquel is neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).

However, it only happens in 1% of people who take antipsychotics. 

Stop taking this medicine and get emergency help immediately if the following symptoms of NMS occur: ​​

  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Difficult or unusually fast breathing
  • Fast heartbeat or irregular pulse
  • High fever
  • High or low (irregular) blood pressure
  • Increased sweating
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Severe muscle stiffness
  • Unusually pale skin
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Be most concerned if two or more of these symptoms occur together. Most, though not all, of these symptoms do not require emergency medical attention if they occur alone. 

Seroquel Overdose Effects

Notify your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms of overdose occur. These symptoms may be more severe than side effects occurring at regular doses, or several symptoms may occur together:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness

Other Precautions Regarding Seroquel

If you're taking or plan to take Seroquel, keep in mind these precautions:

  • Because Seroquel may cause drowsiness, don't drive or operate machinery until you know how it affects you.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, tell your doctor.
  • Don't ever stop Seroquel or change the amount you are taking without your doctor's approval, even if you feel better. This can lead to unwanted effects and problems managing your illness.
  • Make sure you don't miss any doses of Seroquel as this can lead to a relapse of the symptoms of your mental disorder.
  • If you use alcohol or illegal drugs, tell your doctor since these may make any side effects you experience even worse.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of fluids while on Seroquel and avoid becoming overheated. 

Sources:

"Quetiapine (Seroquel)." National Alliance on Mental Health (2013).

"Medication Guide: Seroquel." U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2013).

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