Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is an anti-psychotic medication often prescribed for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It has been on the market for more than ten years. Its function is to change the reactions of a number of brain chemicals and is effective at treating both depressive and manic episodes. It is not suitable for children under ten years old.
Seroquel is an atypical anti-psychotic. This class of drugs is the 'second generation' of anti-psychotic medications and are generally considered to be at lower risk of causing side-effects. Other atypical anti-psychotics include Abilify (Aripiprazole), Zyprexa (Olanzapine), Geodone (Ziprasidone) and Fanapt (Iloperidone). These drugs are suitable for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They work by blocking the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which produces a tranquilizing effect.
Mood stabilizers may be an alternative to Seroquel as prescribed for bipolar disorder but are not suitable as a treatment for schizophrenia. Examples of mood stabilizers are Topamax (Topiramate), Depakote (Divalproex sodium), Eskalith (Lithium), Depakene (Valproic acid). It may take two to four weeks for mood stabilizers to begin to have their full effect. They work by evening out fluctuations in mood by regulating the communication of neurotransmitters.
Typical anti-psychotics include a group of older medications that are often to considered to cause more side-effects that the newer medications and some of the mood stabilizers. This group includes Thorazine(Chlorpromazine), Haldol (Haloperidol), Mellaril (Thioridazine), Mobam (Molindone) and Navane (Thiothixene). They work in much the same way as atypical anti-psychotics but may cause more frequent or uncomfortable side effects such as tremors, slurred speech and confusion.
Therapy can be used along with Seroquel though it is usually not an adequate alternative. In cases of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, therapy can help improve a treatment plan and assist the patient with motivation, personal care, maintaining relationships, communication and social skills.