Seroquel Side Effects
The drug Seroquel has its share of side effects, and while some complications can be minor, ranging from drowsiness to an upset stomach, many of the Seroquel side effects can dangerous and possibly life threatening. From diabetes to pancreatitis, the consequences of Seroquel can be profound. If you suffered from any of the following serious Seroquel side effects or if you have lost a loved one to complications linked to the drug, make sure to seek the guidance of a dedicated and experienced defective drug attorney today who can help you fight for the answers and the financial compensation that you deserve.
Studies have linked Seroquel use to diabetes, a condition that causes people to fail to properly process glucose, the chemical in the body commonly called blood sugar. The digestive tract converts the food we eat into glucose, and the circulatory system carries it throughout the body to fuel cellular respiration and growth. The pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that allows the cells to draw out the glucose they need for energy. Some drugs, like Seroquel, increase cellular insulin resistance, which makes it more difficult for the cells to draw blood sugar out of the blood. This in turn causes unhealthy levels of sugar to build up in the bloodstream, which, if unchecked, can become fatal.
Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in adults and is caused by increased tissue resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance makes it more difficult for cells and tissues to draw glucose out of the bloodstream, leading to dangerous levels of sugar in the blood. Excess and unprocessed blood sugar can cause a number of diabetic complications including blindness, chronic renal failure, nerve damage, gangrene and amputations, and even erectile dysfunction. Seroquel can raise blood sugar to the point where the natural amount of insulin generated by the pancreas can no longer cope, resulting in type II diabetes.
Juvenile diabetes or type I diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes because it inhibits the body's ability to make insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar builds up in the body and can damage blood vessels, internal organs, and the nervous system. Generally affecting children and teenagers, the juvenile diabetes can be managed with proper diet and insulin injections. Left unchecked, however, the disease can lead to heart conditions, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and even diabetic coma. Seroquel has not been linked to juvenile diabetes.
A diabetic coma is a medical emergency caused by one or a combination of three conditions. Abnormally low levels of blood sugar, diabetic ketoacidosis, or elevated levels of blood sugar combined with dehydration can trigger a diabetic coma. Depending on the causal factor of the coma, there can be few external symptoms indicating an oncoming coma, but comas usually occur 20 minutes to an hour after the first symptoms manifest. Tragically, without immediate medical attention, a diabetic coma is usually fatal.
Seroquel has been linked to the potentially fatal condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis because it can significantly alter glucose level in the bloodstream. Diabetic ketoacidosis is essentially the body starving and dehydrating itself to death because it cannot process the blood sugar in the circulatory system. Sugar builds up in the blood, which causes the body to dehydrate, further worsening the condition until the victim collapses into a coma or even death.
Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by an inflamed and irritated pancreas. It results in fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, shock, and loss of appetite. As the pancreas is responsible for insulin production, it can cause victims to fail to process blood sugar properly, leading to diabetes, coma, or ketoacidosis. Although some cases of pancreatitis can be treated with drugs, extreme cases require surgical treatment of the seriously damaged pancreas.
Hyperglycemia has been linked to Seroquel use because the drug alters the way the body processes insulin and glucose. This in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise, resulting in hyperglycemia. Excess amounts of blood sugar can cause a number of serious complications including diabetes, coma, and diabetic ketoacidosis. Seroquel can also cause significant weight gain or obesity, another condition that leads to hyperglycemia. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include increased hunger, increased urination, weakness, blurred vision, itchy skin, dry mouth, and male sexual impotence.
Tragically, the most serious complications of Seroquel can lead to the death of the unsuspecting patient. Seventeen independent studies show that Seroquel use increases morality in patients using it to treat senile dementia. The most common cause of death was due to heart failure or infections such as pneumonia.
Other Seroquel Side Effects
Even though Seroquel is an "atypical" antipsychotic, it can still cause the same side effects as older and less sophisticated drugs. Other Seroquel side effects include neuroleptic malignant syndrome, tardive dyskinesia, weight gain, memory problems, dizziness, constipation, dyspepsia, and agitation.
One of the most common side effects is a condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, or NMS. NMS causes muscle rigidity, fever, tremors, irregular blood pressure, delirium, coma and cognitive disruptions. These symptoms often catch victims off guard, and if left unchecked they can be fatal. Mortality range for EMS tops off at 75%, depending on other concurrent medical conditions, such as ketoacidosis.
A similar, but less fatal side effect of Seroquel use is called tardive dyskinesia, a condition characterized by spastic and pointless movements of the face, lips, and eyelids. Seroquel is also known to cause weight gain, sedation, headache, memory problems, dizziness, constipation, dyspepsia, and agitation.