Seroquel, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is an oral medication used to
manage the symptoms associated with schizophrenia such as delusions, thought disorder, hallucinations, social withdrawal, lack of energy,
apathy, and reduced ability to express emotion.
The drug, which was approved by the FDA for marketing in 1997, affects
a broad range of neurotransmitter receptors, including serotonin
receptors. It is also sometimes used to treat the mania associated
with bipolar disorder.
News of Seroquel’s side effects and emerged as a result of observational
data released at a medical conference in Philadelphia which showed that
patients on Seroquel had 3.34 times as many cases of diabetes as those
on older antipsychotics such as haldoperidol.
Towards the end of August, 2003, news of side effects associated with
Seroquel became widely publicized and caused the value of
AstraZeneca’s stock to decrease by almost one percent.
Soon after, the law firms of Parker & Waichman and Aylstock, Witkens &
Sasser announced that a class action lawsuit had been commenced in the
United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on behalf of
all those who had used Seroquel.
This lawsuit contends that AstraZeneca was aware that Seroquel was
associated with a high occurrence of diabetes, but they did not take steps
to adequately warn doctors or patients in the United States of this
The pending lawsuit seeks statutory, exemplary and punitive financial
damages from AstraZeneca for their alleged disregard of the well being
and health of the plaintiffs and class members (the people who took
Seroquel and subsequently developed diabetes).
In addition, the lawsuit also alleges that AstraZeneca aggressively
marketed and promoted Seroquel for “off label” use that was beyond
its FDA approved indications at the time in question.
AstraZeneca is accused of unfairly offering incentives to doctors and
other medical professionals in an effort to increase the number of
Seroquel prescriptions that were written.
The Seroquel class action lawsuit seeks to establish a medical monitoring
fund to pay for anyone who has taken Seroquel so that they can be tested
for diabetes and other blood sugar disorders.
On January 30th, 2004, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, the company
that markets Seroquel in the United States sent a “Dear Doctor” letter
to thousands of doctors throughout the USA. The letter indicated that:
“…Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with
ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in
patients treated with atypical antipsychotics, including Seroquel.”
[Click Here to read the actual Seroquel "Dear Doctor" letter]