If you or someone you know have been taking medications to treat Bipolar Disorder, the name Seroquel might be familiar to you. Clinically known as Quetiapine, this is an atypical antipsychotic medication that can effectively treat conditions like Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, etc. As an FDA-approved antipsychotic drug, Seroquel has been one of the most commonly used medications to treat Schizophrenia. But at the same time, various studies have found out the fact that Seroquel causes weight gain as a side effect.
In this article, we will be analyzing the Seroquel weight gain process and how this happens. The article starts with a detailed overview of the medication and its various uses. On further reading, you can find out whether Seroquel causes weight gain and how this happens. Before concluding, this article also provides insight into some other side effects caused by Seroquel and how you can prevent weight gain from it. So dive right into the article and learn how Seroquel can cause weight gain!
What is Seroquel?
Seroquel is the brand name for Quetiapine Fumarate, which is an FDA-approved medication used for the treatment of mental issues such as schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. It is an atypical antipsychotic medication. Atypical antipsychotics are serotonin-dopamine antagonists (SDAs), which are second-generation antipsychotics brought to the market after the 1970s. Seroquel was first formulated in 1985.
In 1997, it got medical validation in the United States. It works by balancing the dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain and thereby enhancing your focus and mood. Seroquel can reduce the hallucinations and blurred thinking that are some common symptoms of people affected with certain manias. You should contact your healthcare provider before consuming this medication as it can cause serious side effects and interactions if taken without care.
Uses of Seroquel
Seroquel or Quetiapine is commonly used to treat conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, etc. The details of the medicine’s uses are given below:
- For treating Schizophrenia: Studies have shown that compared to other medications, Seroquel provides better effectiveness in treating Schizophrenia. Seroquel won’t create any movement disorders as one of the side effects, which makes it a better alternative. A study on randomized controlled trials and published by Cochrane Library journal emphasized this point.
- For the treatment of Bipolar Disorder: Studies have validated the efficacy of using Seroquel in acute bipolar depression. In patients affected with bipolar 1 disorder, Seroquel is also used as an adjunct therapy to medications such as lithium and valproate.
- For treating Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Quetiapine or Seroquel is usually prescribed as an add-on medication to treat patients with major depressive disorder. In 2009, the FDA approved the usage of Seroquel XR aka Quetiapine ER for treating major depressive disorder. Seroquel has been found more effective in administering Treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
Some other uses of Seroquel for treating conditions such as Tourette Syndrome, Anxiety Disorders, Insomnia, Alzheimer’s Disease, etc have been under study. There are no relevant proofs regarding the efficacy of treating these conditions with Seroquel. Yet, much research is going on and we should wait for the results.
Can Seroquel induce weight gain?
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2007 established the fact that Quetiapine can impact long-term weight change. The study was conducted from data collected from 352 patients who were treated with Quetiapine for 52 weeks. The data collection was conducted by the AstraZeneca group which had invented the medication.
As per this study, it was found that considerable weight gain happened after 12 weeks of administering Quetiapine to the patients. Antipsychotics such as Seroquel aka Quetiapine have always been attributed to weight gain as a major side effect. Many reasons create weight gain due to medication intake. To know how Seroquel can induce weight gain as a major side effect read the post below.
Ways Seroquel cause weight gain
As we have established the fact that Seroquel can cause weight gain, now we can examine why and how it instigates this. Most antipsychotics are associated with weight gain whether it be mood stabilizers or antidepressants. Studies have shown that the consumption of antipsychotics can increase your appetite and also enhance the sugar content in your body. Below are some of the ways Seroquel causes weight gain in your body. Check out the list below:
👉🏻 It induces unwanted cravings and appetites: A study published in Current Psychiatry Reports in 2013 analyzed certain behavioral interventions made by antipsychotics such as Seroquel, which includes a case of appetite change. As a result, patients who are under medications such as Seroquel tend to have more cravings for sugar and fat-based foods. When food that is abundant in sugar and fat is higher in your body, it can lead to weight gain.
👉🏻 It tampers your hormonal balance: One of the ways Seroquel causes weight gain is by tampering with the balance of your hormonal levels. Studies have shown that Seroquel can interfere with your thyroid function and can cause a lower level of thyroid hormone in your body. When your thyroid gland lacks stimulation, it can lead to a considerable increase in weight.
👉🏻 It hampers your motivation: Antimanic agents such as Seroquel bind to your dopamine receptors and reduce the functioning of dopamine in your brain. This can result in a lower level of dopamine and thereby can lead to a lack of motivation in patients. Decreased levels of dopamine can also cause fatigue and sleepiness. When this happens, the patient loses the ability to engage in physical activities, thereby it affects weight gain.
👉🏻 It activates fat accumulation: Consuming Seroquel daily can lead to increased levels of fat storage and thereby can lead to weight gain.
👉🏻 Lowers the speed of metabolism: One of the crucial side effects of Seroquel is that it can slow down your metabolism. This can lead to a delay in the fat-burning process and thereby can result in weight gain.
Related article: Does Gabapentin Cause Weight Gain? All You Need To Know!
Other side effects
Quetiapine aka Seroquel can have various side effects other than causing weight gain. There are some serious side effects and trivial ones. In case you are experiencing any serious side effects due to Seroquel, consult your doctor immediately.
Some of the common side effects of Seroquel are provided below:
Common Side effects
◼ Extreme sleepiness during the day
◼ Nausea and vomiting
◼ Issues with indigestion
◼ Excessive appetite and cravings
◼ Inability to move properly
◼ Swelling in breasts
◼ Increased heartbeats
Serious side effects
◼ Vision loss
◼ Seizure like movements
◼ Being unconscious
◼ Suddenly falling or tripping
◼ Increased levels of sweating
◼ Irregular and speedy heartbeats
◼ Rashes and blisters on the skin
◼ Muscle stiffness especially in the neck and throat
How to manage the weight gained from Seroquel?
Antipsychotics such as Seroquel can cause weight gain as a side effect. The exact reason behind this is not found yet. Still, by following some lifestyle changes you can manage the weight gained from antipsychotics such as Seroquel.
Some of these are listed below:
- Keep a healthy eating habit: When you are on antipsychotic medications such as Seroquel, you naturally will feel more cravings. To avoid snacking on fast foods, try to switch to healthier alternatives.
- Maintain a regular exercise habit: Exercise can burn off those extra calories you have gained as a result of Seroquel-induced weight gain. It can also enhance the production of dopamine and endorphins, which can elevate your mood.
- Get plenty of sleep: Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is necessary while you are on medications such as Seroquel. Sleep can affect your metabolism and thereby control the weight gain process.
- Reduce the dosage: This should be done with your doctor’s advice. If you can lower the dosage of Seroquel, many weight gain side effects can be avoided.
- Hydrate often: Water can play a crucial role in regulating your appetite and hunger. If you feel cravings due to Seroquel side effects, try to drink water. This can reduce cravings.
Many atypical psychotics such as Seroquel can cause weight gain as one of its major side effects. Commonly used for treating conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, etc Seroquel can regulate the functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain. From the above article, one can conclude that the consistent usage of Seroquel can cause weight gain.
Even though the medication is FDA-approved and clinically used, it can have side effects like weight gain. Seroquel causes weight gain by causing irregularities in hormones and increasing one’s appetite. It can also lower metabolic speed and accentuate fat accumulation. By following certain lifestyle changes, one can reduce the weight gain effect of Seroquel.