Advocacy, Antipsychotic drugs, Toward better care

40+ seroquel side effects

seroquel cropped

I advocate against the inappropriate use of antipsychotics in treating people who live with dementia because I have seen first hand the devastating impact these drugs can have.

Sadly, many dementia care partners (including myself) have been forced to turn to medication out of desperation. In order to be be able to make an informed decision, it’s important to know the side effects of the medication in question.

Antipsychotics quetiapine (Seroquel) and risperidone (Risperdal) carry a black box warning because both of them increase the risk of mortality in elderly patients with dementia. Furthermore, recent research shows these medications are largely ineffective in treating behavioural expressions in people who live with dementia.

Geriatricians worldwide recommend against their use, saying they should only be given a last resort after all non-pharmacological strategies have been tried. Unfortunately, too many people who live with dementia are still prescribed these drugs which are in the majority of cases both ineffective as well as harmful.

Here are some of the side effect of quetiapine, which is marketed under the brand name Seroquel:

  1. seizures
  2. orthostatic hypotension
  3. hypothyroidism
  4. tardive dyskinesia (two video examples with my mom)
  5. neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  6. high blood cholesterol
  7. high triglycerides levels
  8. sedation (real-life video of effect on my mom)
  9. stiff/rigid muscles (see here and here)
  10. high fever
  11. sweating
  12. confusion
  13. loss of balance control
  14. shuffling walk (see my mom do the “seroquel shuffle” here)
  15. fast or uneven heartbeats
  16. tremors (see the effects in my mom here)
  17. jerky muscle movements
  18. trouble swallowing
  19. problems with speech
  20. restless muscle movements in the eyes, tongue, jaw, neck, arms, or legs
  21. mask-like appearance of the face (see Mom here)
  22. blurred vision
  23. eye pain
  24. increased thirst and urination
  25. chills
  26. body aches
  27. flu symptoms
  28. white patches or sores in mouth or on lips
  29. headache
  30. agitation
  31. dizziness
  32. drowsiness
  33. tiredness
  34. increased appetite
  35. weight gain
  36. stomach pain or upset
  37. nausea
  38. vomiting
  39. constipation
  40. dry mouth
  41. sore throat
  42. breast swelling or discharge

Giving quetiapine (Seroquel) to people who live with dementia and who may be unable to report the side effects they are experiencing is cruel and in many cases completely unnecessary. Read more about why drugs like quetiapine are still inappropriately prescribed to elderly people who live with dementia.

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8 thoughts on “40+ seroquel side effects”

  1. I am so pleased that all medical professionals I have come into contact with have had reservations against prescribing these drugs. I was offered them for both Mum and John but was also told why the would recommend following this path. Neither of them has ever had any of these drugs. I did say that I was not keen on any medication that would interfere with their quality of life.


  2. My husband is on both and the difference in his and my quality of life was like night and day. I would NOT have him taken off of them and go back to the way we were living.


  3. Every aspect of my husbands life at end stage Parkinson’s was filled with hallucinations.
    Seroquel was the only release with none of the side effects experienced. He became more lucid, more able to verbalize his feelings and was relieved at the absence of the hallucinations.


    1. That’s great news Judy, and I’m glad the medication worked for your husband. There are some people for whom these kinds of medications are a godsend. For many others they are devastating.


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