Risks of Taking Seroquel as an Off-Label Treatment for Insomnia


Seroquel for insomnia

The drug Seroquel is a prescription antipsychotic medication. That said, a recent report has shown that a growing number of doctors are prescribing it for the off-label purpose of treating insomnia. Still, drug safety experts are now urging doctors to change these habits because it is not as safe as they may think it is.

Indeed, Seroquel may help to make a user more restful and it can help to overcome insomnia symptoms. That said, this is not known for sure. Science has never actually proven that the drug can help people to overcome their sleeplessness. Still, it has managed to develop this reputation and has, therefore, become a part of an off-label prescribing trend. It must also be kept in mind that this is a serious antipsychotic primarily prescribed to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. As such, it is also associated with the risk of a number of side effects ranging in severity.

For these reasons, this medication in both its brand and generic form, are not approved for use in treating sleep problems of any degree.

As a result of the unwanted side effects, a striking number of patients using prescription Seroquel to treat their insomnia have ended up in the emergency room. ER doctors have been growing increasingly frustrated with having to treat patients who have been prescribed the medication for this reason, as they feel that it is completely unnecessary and emergencies are, therefore, fully preventable.

These doctors are finding the number of emergency cases they see for this purpose quite alarming. This is particularly true because it is not necessarily a result of the patient’s misuse of the medication. Instead, he or she has been specifically prescribed the drug for that purpose.

From 2005 to 2012, the number of off-label prescriptions of this drug as a sleep aid has increased ten times over.

Yes, this drug can make some people drowsy. However, it can also lead to a sensation of restlessness and tension called akathisia, tremors comparable to Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, movement abnormalities, weight gain, development or worsening of diabetes, high blood sugar, heart arrhythmia (rare) which can lead to sudden cardiac death.

If you have been prescribed the medication off-label for that reason, it’s a good idea to seek a second opinion before you fill that prescription. After all, there are a number of alternatives – both non-prescription and prescription strength – that are readily available to the majority of people suffering from sleeplessness. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter sleep aids such as Somnaprin before filling an off-label prescription.

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