Schizophrenia medicine incorrectly used as sleeping pill
General practitioners have been violating primary guidelines when prescribing the medicine quetiapine to patients with sleep disorders, investigative platform Pointer concluded after the research. The antipsychotic drug was originally intended for schizophrenia treatments and has not yet been proven as effective for sleeping problems. It can also cause serious side effects.
Quetiapine was marketed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for patients suffering from major psychological disorders and available under the brand name Seroquel. Because the drug also has a sleep-inducing effect, it is said to be commonly prescribed in a low dose to people facing sleep issues.
"This drug eventually made its way from psychiatry into general practice. Quetiapine in a low dose has now spread like an oil slick across the country," said clinical pharmacologist Arne Risselada.
aNevertheless, the guidelines of the Dutch college of general practitioners (NHG) previously warned not to use quetiapine in treating people with sleeping problems. According to the organization, there is a clear lack of scientific research which would confirm that the drug is indeed beneficial against sleep disorders.
“Based on our guidelines and the studies we have reviewed, I say: don't do it. There is no reason to use it purely for sleep disorders,” NHG chair Wendy Borneman urged.
Furthermore, the Lareb side effect research center also indicated they have so far received a total of 950 side effects reports linked to quetiapine use. Suicidal thoughts and thrombosis appeared to be some of the most commonly reported side reactions. Additionally, quetiapine is also believed to be capable of causing severe obesity in its users.