Seroquel, the trade name for quetiapine is an antipsychotic drug that is used in the management of psychological disorders. It works by blocking special receptors within the brain that responds to serotonin - a compound that is responsible for mood. Due to this effect, it has clinical uses in the management of schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis.
Unfortunately, in the recent past, Seroquel has come under fire due to its possible recreational use by certain individuals. From the available clinical studies, it appears that young male subjects tend to abuse or misuse Seroquel by either administering it through the oral route or intravenous route. Typically, these individuals have a history of drug abuse and substance abuse in the past, especially to benzodiazepines.
But why exactly does abuse of Seroquel occur? There are a number of different explanations as to why individuals may start abusing this drug. One such an explanation is known as the ‘dopamine reward system’. In other words, taking this drug can stimulate certain receptors that make an individual feel good. In addition to this, patients may also notice a significant reduction in their anxiety levels and may use it every time they feel anxious. Quetiapine also has a sedative effect which many find rather helpful in certain situations.
While there are clearly reports of Seroquel misuse and abuse, it appears that most of the data that is available is from individuals who are in prison (to fake psychosis) or who are currently under some form of psychiatric treatment. However, it is unclear as to what exactly the level of abuse is in the public.
Seroquel abuse brings with it certain problems. For example, individuals who take Seroquel can sometimes become suicidal. This is particularly more of an issue in those individuals who are suffering from depression.
Seroquel use a recreationally can cause a variety of different symptoms that range from dry mouth, dizziness, pain in the abdomen, constipation, alterations in blood pressure, increase in body weight and tiredness.
Managing Seroquel abuse
As such, there does not appear to be any straight strategy in managing Seroquel abuse. The input would primarily come through psychiatrists who can discuss with the patient the harmful effects of Seroquel abuse on the body. Group therapy may be helpful in managing such patients as well. However, given how under recognised Seroquel abuse is, it is unclear as to what extent these management strategies will affect the overall abuse potential that is associated with the drug.
Seroquel abuse is a well-recognised condition but lacks significant evidence regarding its effect on one’s health. Furthermore, the paucity of cases reported would imply that it is under recognised and requires significant steps to be taken in the public health system to target it.