Seroquel Side Effects Lawsuit Attorney
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research Quality announced on May 24th its plan to conduct a nationwide survey on comparative impact of Seroquel and lithium on patients with bipolar disorder. It has earmarked $10 million to study the detailed impact of the drug on patients being treated at 10 hospitals in the country. This comes on the heels of a startling disclosure made by the Department of Health and Human Services in the first week of May about unauthorized administration of Seroquel and other strong antipsychotic drugs to elderly nursing home residents throughout the country. The report also alleged that such unnecessary administration thrived on the kickbacks paid by drug makers. The disclosure came after a Congressional member questioned about Seroquel second generation antipsychotic mood-stabilizing drug given to hundreds of thousands of elderly dementia patients staying in nursing homes.
AstraZeneca’s Seroquel, which contains Quetiapine, is an atypical antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia, acute bipolar disorder, and severe depression. However, this second generation mood-stabilizing medication causes toxicity, serious neurological disorders, glucose intolerability, early onset of diabetes, and metabolic side effects in patients.
The FDA approved Seroquel in 1994 for treatment of schizophrenia. It was allowed as a medication for mania-associated bipolar disorder in 2004. However,its side effects have led to several complaints and lawsuits over the years. The National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study in 2005 to examine the efficacy of Seroquel. The final report published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted intolerable side effects and lack of efficacy of this second-generation anti-psychotic drug against the older ones. The drug was also linked to weight gain, glucose intolerability, and worsened cognitive functioning in patients. Another CATIE study in 2006 investigated the relation between the use of drug and cataract in users.
The Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA held a public hearing in April 2009 informing people about the possible metabolic side effects, tongue dyskinesia, and sudden cardiac arrest in patients using the drug to overcome anxiety and depression. It also issued a warning prohibiting administration of Seroquel to elderly dementia patients. In August 2010, family members of several soldiers and veterans, who died after taking the drug to treat PTSD, demanded action against Seroquel manufacturer.
In April 2011, AstraZeneca paid $520 million in fines after the U.S. Justice Department began legal proceedings accusing the manufacturer of Seroquel of unapproved uses. It followed an accord between 37 U.S. states and the manufacturer, which demanded $68.5 million fine on the part of AstraZeneca. In both cases, the company was charged with unfair and misleading marketing practices that furthered unapproved uses of Seroquel.
Seroquel Class Action Lawsuit
AstraZeneca faces 27,000 lawsuits for failing to adequately disclose possible side effects of Seroquel. Most of them have accused the company of withholding negative information about the safety and effectiveness of the drug. Many of these plaintiffs claimed to have suffered from pancreatitis, diabetes, hyperglycemia, and muscle movement disorders. AstraZeneca has paid $350 million until now, $200 million in 2010, and $150 million in 2011 to settle more than 23,000 lawsuits. Each plaintiff is entitled to receive $25,000 as compensation.
Important Seroquel Side Effects
Seroquel is considered the most sedating of popular anti-psychotics. Its prolonged use or unnecessary medication results in several side effects.
Nervous System and Brain Damage
Long-term use of Seroquel may damage the brain, as it impairs the Central Nervous System. It impacts the cognitive performance of users and induces agitation, somnolence, tremor, and dizziness. There are several reports of patients experiencing hypertonia, abnormal dreams, dyskinesia, dysarthria, amnesia, decreased libido, and parkinsonism after taking the drug. The FDA has received two reports of neuroleptic malignant syndrome linked to Seroquel.
Seroquel is the possible cause of dry mouth, vomiting, disorder of digestive function, and gastroenteritis in patients. Many claim to have experienced gingivitis, hemorrhoids, stomatitis, gum hemorrhage, mouth ulcer, intestinal obstruction, and pancreatitis after taking the drug.
Extended use of Seroquel can lead to side effects, such as tachycardia, hypotension, and irregular heart beat. Users of the drug are prone to bradycardia, cerebral ischemia, cerebrovascular accident, first degree atrioventricular block, and congestive heart failure.
A survey of U.S. military veterans suffering from schizophrenia reported last year that patients using Seroquel are three times more prone to diabetes compared to the first-generation antipsychotics. These patients are also at the risk of developing hyperglycemia, serum thyroxine decrease, and hyperthyroidism.
Seroquel can lead to metabolic side effects that affect the overall health of patients. More than 60 percent of the patients are found to have gained moderate weight within the first 12 weeks of taking this drug. Hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and increased SGPT are also linked to metabolic side effects of the drug.
The manufacturer of Seroquel advises eye checkup for users in every six month. According to researches done by various independent agencies, visual impairment due to amblyopia, dry eyes, inflammation of the eyelids, eye pain, photopsia, cataract, and glaucoma are possible side effects of using the drug over a period of time.
Other Serious Side Effects
Seroquel causes dermatologic problems, such as acne, eczema, skin ulcer, exfoliative and contact dermatitis, and skin discoloration. Respiratory infections leading to pneumonia and pharyngitis, ear pain, tinnitus, deafness, and several hematologic side effects are also linked to Seroquel. The FDA has received at least two reports on rapid skeletal muscle tissue disintegration caused by the drug.