Dear Ask The Doctor: When prescribed seroquel (quetiapine) under the age of 18 years, is it because the patient has schizophrenia or could it still be bipolar disorder even though it's the first medication tried out?
Dear Patient: Quetiapine is a drug that can be used in either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. It also has a potent sedating effect which helps with manic episodes in bipolar disorder (some individuals may feel they don’t need to sleep). One advantage of seroquel is it has lesser effect on weight gain. Some drugs used in schizophrenia can cause significant weight gain with resultant increases in blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels which may require monitoring regularly. With Seroquel, these effects are much less. In my opinion, I think this could be one of the reasons why Seroquel is being used in this case because the patient is still young and future cardiovascular complications due to high blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels may be prevented. If there is a history of diabetes or high cholesterol levels in the family, then it is more reasonable to use Seroquel. I hope this helps and I wish you well always.