Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug used to treat mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But patients who take Seroquel are 70% more likely to become diabetic than those who don’t take this drug, a risk that the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca was aware of as early as 2000. Joe Schneider and Margaret C. Fisk of Bloomberg.com report AstraZeneca’s release of its internal studies that suggested causal links between Seroquel and “diabetes and related conditions.”
Not only should patients watch out for the increased risk of diabetes that Seroquel and similar drugs (they are in a class called “atypical antipsychotics,” including Abilify, Zyprexa, and others), they need to be aware of the mental illnesses that these drugs are approved to treat. A Reuters article reports that an AstraZeneca sales representative marketed Seroquel as a depression-treating drug to a physician, which is an unapproved use of the drug. Although it is not clear from the article what dangers are associated with treating depression with Seroquel, it is safest to limit use of these powerful drugs to what they’re approved to treat.