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Seroquel® and Diabetes


Recently conducted studies have found a link between Seroquel and a higher risk of developing blood sugar disorders, including hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic condition in which the body cannot breakdown glucose properly. Experts estimate that at least 171 million individuals worldwide suffer from diabetes and the number is expected to double by 2030. In 2005, diabetes sufferers in the United States totaled 20.8 million people, and it is believed that there are over 6 million people with diabetes that have gone undiagnosed and another 41 million people who could be considered pre-diabetic.

Diabetes is due to the beta cells in the pancreas lacking the ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to prevent high blood sugar levels. The classic symptoms of diabetes include polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst and increased fluid intake), and polyphagia (increased appetite). The symptoms usually worsen over days or weeks and noticable weight loss may occur. Many complications are associated with diabetes. Acute complications include diabetic ketoacidosis, hypoglycemia, and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, usually caused by the diabetic condition not being controlled adequately. Serious complications include retinal damage/blindness, cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, and nerve damage. Many people do not discover that they are diabetic until after they develop one of the complications associated with diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition with no known cure. Symptoms are managed with a combination of medications, dietary planning, and/or insulin supplementation. Of the adults in the United States diagnosed with diabetes, 57% take oral medication only, 16% take insulin only, 12% take both insulin and oral medication, and 15% do not take either insulin or oral medications. In spite of the fact that treatments for diabetes are readily available, diabetes has remained a major cause of death worldwide. Diabetes is considered the fifth deadliest disease in the United States, claiming over 200,000 lives every year.

The association between the usage of Seroquel and an increased risk of developing a blood sugar disorder led the FDA to request that the warning label on Seroquel be changed to include the new information. Seroquel is one of the 6 anti-psychotic medications believed to promote diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. The clinical trials conducted found that the patients taking Seroquel developed diabetes over three times more often than the patients who were taking anti-psychotic medications that had been on the market for a longer period of time. Doctors received information warning them to carefully monitor any of their patients who were taking Seroquel to determine whether they were developing diabetes. The risk was not determined to be great enough to warrant a recall of Seroquel, but healthcare professionals are advised to weight the risks and benefits carefully before deciding to prescribe Seroquel to any individual.

More Seroquel Information

Seroquel, generically known as Quetiapine, is a prescription medication manufactured and marketed by leading pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Belonging to the “atypical anti-psychotics” category, Seroquel gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August of 1997 and was released to the public later that year. Seroquel is approved for use in the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and is known to be prescribed “off-label” to assist in the treatment of restless leg syndrome, autism, sleep disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and alcoholism.

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