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Seroquel® and Ketoacidosis

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Recent studies uncovered a link between using Seroquel and developing some types of blood sugar disorders, such as hyperglycemia, diabetes, and diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a metabolic condition caused by high concentrations of ketone bodies in the bloodstream, a nearly complete deficiency of insulin in the body, and elevated levels of certain stress hormones. This combination substantially lowers the pH of the blood (pH lower than 6.8 is incompatible with life). Diabetic ketoacidosis is usually accompanied by insulin deficiency, dehydration, and hyperglycemia.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is considered a life-threatening complication with a high mortality rate in untreated cases. The onset of diabetic ketoacidosis can be fairly rapid, occurring within 24 hours, and severe cases can result in diabetic coma and/or death. Primary signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include extreme tiredness, acetone smell on the breath, extreme thirst no matter how much you drink, constant urination, weight loss, and recurrent infections. Late signs, indicating an immediate need for medical attention, include confusion, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, abdominal pain, and deep, heavy breathing.

Normal treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis consists of dehydration, replacement of lost electrolytes, and insulin to correct metabolic imbalances. Upon admission to the hospital, patients are usually placed in an intensive care or step-down unit so that blood test, urine output, and vital signs can be monitored frequently. Intubation and mechanical ventilation may be required for patients with a severely altered mental state. Survival is dependent on how severely imbalanced the patient’s metabolism was upon admission to the hospital.

The connection between Seroquel usage and the increased risk of developing a blood sugar disorder was revealed in 2003, prompting the FDA to request the manufacturer to incorporate information about the heightened risk on the warning label of the medication. Seroquel was identified as one of six anti-psychotic drugs connected to a higher risk of obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Clinical assessments uncovered that patients on Seroquel were 3 times more prone to diabetes than patients taking the older anti-psychotic medications. Information was sent to healthcare professionals warning of the increased risks and advising them to carefully monitor any of their patients taking Seroquel for any symptoms indicating the development of diabetes. The FDA concluded that the risks of using Seroquel were not greater than the benefits of taking the medication and determined that a recall of Seroquel was unnecessary. Medical professionals are advised to carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of the prescription medication prior to prescribing it to patients.

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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