Your Questions about Bipolar Disorder Answered
(ARA) – In a given year, about one in four adults experience a mental health disorder. One such mental illness, bipolar disorder is estimated to affect 6 million American adults, or about 2.6% of the US population age 18 and older, in a given year. For individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there are support and resources, along with tools to help people have an open and honest conversation with their doctors about their condition.
Preparation is the key to having a productive conversation with your doctor about bipolar disorder. Recording your symptoms and writing down questions before your visit can help. Below, Dr C. Brendan Montano, director of neuroscience research, Connecticut Clinical Trials, active medical literature contributor and member of the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Primary Care Edition, answers common questions about bipolar disorder to help assist adults diagnosed, as well as friends and family members, in successfully managing this disease.
- What are some of the common symptoms associated with bipolar disorder? “Bipolar disorder can cause extreme swings in mood, energy and behavior. It is characterized by both episodes of extreme “highs” called bipolar mania and “lows” called bipolar depression. An individual experiencing an episode of bipolar mania experiences manic symptoms nearly every day for at least one week, while an episode of bipolar depression involves depressive symptoms nearly e very day for at least one or two weeks.”
- What causes bipolar disorder? “At this time, there is no known singular cause of bipolar disorder. However, researchers agree that many factors increase an individual’s risk factor, such as genetics and brain structure.”
- Can bipolar disorder be cured? “There is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, with proper treatment, such as talking to a health care professional to establish a proper treatment plan, bipolar disorder can be successfully managed.”
- What treatment options are available? “Individuals should work with their doctors to discuss a treatment plan, which may include support groups, talk therapy and medication. One such treatment option, SEROQUEL XR® (quetiapine fumarate), is a once-daily medication that is FDA approved to treat both the manic highs and depressive lows of bipolar disorder. For more information about bipolar disorder and SEROQUEL XR, visit SEROQUELXR.com.”
About SEROQUEL XR (quetiapine fumarate) Extended-Release Tablets
SEROQUEL XR is a once-daily tablet approved in adults for (1) acute depressive episodes in bipolar disorder; (2) acute manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorder alone or with lithium or divalproex; (3) long-term treatment of bipolar disorder with lithium or divalproex; (4) add-on treatment to an antidepressant for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who did not have an adequate response to antidepressant therapy; and (5) schizophrenia.
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 patients under the age of 18 years.
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.
Please read the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS and Medication Guide.
For more information, visit SEROQUELXR.com or call 1-800-4-SEROQUELXR.
This content is sponsored by AstraZeneca. Dr C. Brendan Montano was compensated as a spokesperson by AstraZeneca. SEROQUEL XR is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.