What Is Quetiapine Fumarate?

B. Chisholm

Quetiapine fumarate is an atypical antipsychotic drug used to treat psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. It may be used alone or in combination with other psychiatric medications. It is taken orally, and is available only by prescription, under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

Quetiapine fumarate is sometimes prescribed to treat bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Quetiapine fumarate is sometimes prescribed to treat bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

The drug works by altering the neurotransmitters or chemicals in the brain by acting on the receptors. These include the serotonin and dopamine receptors. Many psychiatric conditions are caused by an imbalance of the various chemicals involved in the functioning of the brain, and it is in this way that quetiapine fumarate takes effect.

Quetiapine fumarate works by altering the neurotransmitters or chemicals in the brain.
Quetiapine fumarate works by altering the neurotransmitters or chemicals in the brain.

Psychiatric illness is complicated and may be caused by a many factors, both intrinsic and external. It is for this reason that the treatment of psychiatric illnesses is also multi-factorial, and may include a variety of health professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists. Non-drug and complementary practitioners, such as nutritional therapists, massage therapists or relaxation specialists, may also be involved.

The treatment of psychiatric illness is often difficult, and the treating doctor may have to try out a number of different medications or combinations of medications before finding the optimum treatment. Both response and possible side effects will be taken into consideration. Quetiapine fumarate is often added as an adjunct in patients who have not responded to one drug only, but it may be used alone in some cases.

The dose and dosage regimen of quetiapine fumarate will be established by the prescribing doctor and will depend on the condition being treated. It is usually started at a low dose and gradually increased. There is an extended release preparation that is usually taken once daily, and a non-sustained release preparation that is usually taken twice daily.

As with any medication, quetiapine fumarate may interact with other medicines so these should be discussed with the prescribing physician, as should pregnancy, desired pregnancy, lactation, or any diseases or allergies. Quetiapine fumarate may cause drowsiness, so it should not be taken with other sedative drugs or alcohol, and driving or working with heavy machinery should be avoided. Patients taking the drug should be careful when standing up, especially when starting therapy, due to the possibility of postural hypotension.

Quetiapine fumarate may cause side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, headache, dry mouth and gastrointestinal problems. Less commonly, it may cause cardiac or hematological side effects. Any untoward effects should be discussed with the prescribing doctor.

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Discussion Comments


I hate the side effects of quetiapine. It turns me into a zombie. I want to sleep all the time and I'm always hungry. I've gained ten pounds on it so far.


@alisha-- Quetiapine is a safe medication to use for depression. It was not developed with this in mind. But there were many studies done on it and it was proved to be effective for depression.

You can always get a second opinion from another doctor if you're worried about your prescription. But I think that doctors are better informed about the uses of different medications and they know what we need better than we do. Quetiapine might just be what you need.

I used quetiapine for a while for depression. It worked very well. I have insomnia as well and this medication treated that at the same time. I felt very good on quetiapine.

Is it a good idea to use antipsychotics to treat depression? Isn't this a too strong a treatment?

My doctor prescribed me quetiapine fumarate tablets for depression. I didn't realize that this is an antipsychotic medication until I came home and looked it up on the internet. I'm not sure if I should take it.

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