Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
If you think you may have bipolar disorder, you are not alone. Bipolar disorder is estimated to affect millions of American adults each year. Yet for many people with the disease, an accurate diagnosis, and therefore, finding an appropriate treatment, may take years.
To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder you must have experienced a high period (mania or hypomania). However, most people with bipolar disorder when ill or when symptomatic experience more lows than highs. These lows are known as "bipolar depression." Your health care professional is trained to make a correct diagnosis based on your symptoms and a careful review of your medical history. If you are struggling with depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder, help may be available. Use these questions to have an open and honest dialogue about your condition and to find out if Seroquel XR may be right for you.
Misdiagnosis is common
Many patients with bipolar disorder initially seek treatment for their depressive symptoms. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is oftentimes missed. One of the ways to help get an accurate diagnosis is to talk to your health care professional about all the symptoms you are experiencing, including any manic symptoms or hypomanic symptoms (hypomania is a less severe form of mania).
The symptoms of major depressive disorder, also called depression, are similar to the symptoms of bipolar depression. In a national survey, more than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder were originally misdiagnosed with other disorders. And over one-third of people with bipolar disorder who were originally misdiagnosed waited 10 years or more before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
If you have unresolved depressive symptoms caused by bipolar disorder—or if you think it's possible you've been misdiagnosed with major depressive disorder—be sure to talk to your health care professional about all the symptoms you are experiencing, including any manic or hypomanic episodes. Here are some tips for working with your health care professional to assist him or her in making your diagnosis.
- Keep accurate records and notes so that you can have a productive conversation with your health care professional
- Tell your health care professional if you have a history of mania or hypomania
- Tell your health care professional if you have a family history of bipolar disorder or a family member has struggled with mood swings
- Use these questions at your next appointment
Important Safety Information About SEROQUEL XR
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis (having lost touch with reality due to confusion and memory loss) treated with this type of medicine are at an increased risk of death, compared to placebo (sugar pill). SEROQUEL XR is not approved for treating these patients.
Antidepressants have increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults. Patients of all ages starting treatment should be watched closely for worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, unusual changes in behavior, agitation, and irritability. Patients, families, and caregivers should pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is started or when the dose is changed. These symptoms should be reported immediately to the doctor. SEROQUEL XR is not approved for children under the age of 10 years.
- Do not take SEROQUEL XR if you are allergic to quetiapine fumarate or any of the ingredients in SEROQUEL XR.
- Stroke that can lead to death can happen in elderly people with dementia who take medicines like SEROQUEL XR.
- Stop SEROQUEL XR and call your doctor right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms: high fever; excessive sweating; stiff muscles; confusion; changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure. These may be symptoms of a rare, but very serious and potentially fatal, side effect called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
- High blood sugar and diabetes have been reported with SEROQUEL XR and medicines like it. If you have diabetes or risk factors such as obesity or a family history of diabetes, your doctor should check your blood sugar before you start taking SEROQUEL XR and also during therapy. If you develop symptoms of high blood sugar or diabetes, such as excessive thirst or hunger, increased urination, or weakness, contact your doctor. Complications from diabetes can be serious and even life threatening.
- Increases in triglycerides and in LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreases in HDL (good) cholesterol have been reported with SEROQUEL XR. Your doctor should check your cholesterol levels before you start SEROQUEL XR and during therapy.
- Weight gain has been reported with SEROQUEL XR. Your doctor should check your weight regularly.
- Tell your doctor about any movements you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other body parts, as they may be signs of a serious condition called tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD may not go away, even if you stop taking SEROQUEL XR. TD may also start after you stop taking SEROQUEL XR.
- Other risks include feeling dizzy or lightheaded upon standing, decreases in white blood cells (which can be fatal), or trouble swallowing. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these.
- Before starting treatment, tell your doctor about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking. Also tell your doctor if you have or have had low white blood cell count, seizures, abnormal thyroid tests, high prolactin levels, heart or liver problems, or cataracts. An eye exam for cataracts is recommended at the beginning of treatment and every 6 months thereafter.
- Since drowsiness has been reported with SEROQUEL XR, you should not participate in activities such as driving or operating machinery until you know that you can do so safely. Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated while taking SEROQUEL XR. Do not drink alcohol while taking SEROQUEL XR.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Avoid breast-feeding while taking SEROQUEL XR.
- The most common side effects are drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, increased appetite, upset stomach, weight gain, fatigue, disturbance in speech and language, and stuffy nose.
- Do not stop taking SEROQUEL XR without talking to your doctor. Stopping SEROQUEL XR suddenly may cause side effects.
This is not a complete summary of safety information. Please discuss the full Prescribing Information with your health care provider.
SEROQUEL XR is a once-daily tablet approved in adults for (1) add-on treatment to an antidepressant for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who did not have an adequate response to antidepressant therapy; (2) acute depressive episodes in bipolar disorder; (3) acute manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorder alone or with lithium or divalproex; (4) long-term treatment of bipolar disorder with lithium or divalproex; and (5) schizophrenia.
Please read the accompanying Medication Guide and full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS.
Click here to see the Prescribing Information for Seroquel XR, including Boxed WARNINGS.
Click here to see the Medication Guide for Seroquel XR.
Click here to see the Prescribing Information for Seroquel, including Boxed WARNINGS.
Click here to see the Medication Guide for Seroquel.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
The information on this Web site should not take the place of talking with your doctor or health care professional. If you have any questions about your condition, or if you would like more information about Seroquel XR, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Only you and your health care professional can decide if Seroquel XR is right for you.
Patient photos are intended to be representative of typical patients with bipolar disorder and/or major depressive disorder and are not of actual patients.