I feel Seroquel works great for many people. It is a blockbuster billion-dollar drug. However, I wrote the following article “Is Seroquel Safe” in 2002 based on my own horrific experience with the drug, and it got buried by AstraZeneca on the web using Search Engine Optimization techniques after about 20,000 people had seen it and I got 25 responses to my story.I barely survived this drug, and although the side-effect of suicide is infrequent, it is very dangerous and different from treatment-as- usual when talking about the treatment of schizophrenia.
Is Seroquel Safe?
By William Jiang, MLS
A little over a year ago I was on AstraZeneca’s Seroquel with suicidal and homicidal thoughts. How did I get there? At the time, I thought it was me. Now I’m thinking it might have been me on the Seroquel. I was on the Seroquel for almost exactly a year at the time of the beginning of the suicidal/homicidal thoughts. For most of the year I was doing fine because I was losing a lot of weight (about 60 lbs in the course of a year) and getting my self-esteem back. That was thanks to the Seroquel, no doubt about it. But, in the course of a few weeks it all went very wrong.
It’s not just me. I personally know of two other people who were taking Seroquel that either attempted suicide or succeeded in committing the act of suicide. There aren’t that many people out there that take Seroquel. So, I wondered if there are any other people out there who have had a bad experience with the Seroquel. I checked the World Wide Web using Google (google.com) with the keywords: Seroquel and suicide. I came up with pages that maintained that Seroquel actually has the opposite effect that I was postulating. The Web seemed to maintain that because of the favorable side-effects profile of Seroquel it led to reduced rates of suicide among schizophrenics. Not one of the pages mentioned a possible link between Seroquel and increased risk of suicide.
Because of my experience with the suicidal and homicidal thoughts my search did not simply end there. Where else could I find information on individual consumer perspectives? Of course! The Usenet. And how to find this information? Well, I went to deja.com (who are in the process of being taken over by google.com, go figure) The keywords I typed in were exactly the same: Seroquel and suicide. What did I get this time? There were many people grappling with suicidal thoughts that were taking Seroquel; however, the third hit I got was a person that was on Seroquel in alt.suicide.methods that laid out in graphic detail exactly how he was going to commit suicide. I could remember when I was on the Seroquel this was a possible senario for me, so I really empathized with the guy because I know what he was going through. I hope he wised up and got on a drug that would help him calm down.
Luckily, for me I had a friend tell me hthat Seroquel is a dangerous drug. This really stuck in my mind, so when I was overcome with feelings of anger and rage and was homicidal/suicidal I knew to blame my Seroquel. This is probably the only reason I am alive right now. I asked my doctors to switch me back to Zyprexa immediately when I had the homicidal/suicidal thoughts because I knew that although it makes one like a zombie it would control my anger.
I was on Seroquel for almost exactly one year. What enrages me is that I have never seen a long-term study on the effacy of the Seroquel. Usually the studies are for about 4 months to 6 months. Sure it might work in the short term, but what about the long term? I thought Seroquel was a really good drug for the most of the time I was on it; however, it would have been good if my psychiatrist could have seen this coming. It would have been another safety net. So, I guess my plea to the FDA is for them to conduct a long term study on the effacy of Seroquel before somebody else has to write a survival story.
My guesstimate is that the risk of suicide is about 20x greater in those who take Seroquel than Treatmeat As Usual (TAS). This guesstimate is based on the fact that after 20 years the incidence of suicide in hte general poplulation of people with schizophrenia is 10%. Seroquel was tested for six weeks, and suicide is listed as an “infrequent” side effect, meaning it happens to between 1 in 1000 to 1 in 100 people (*). So if you have close to a 1% suicide rate for 6 week, and there are 54 weeks in a year. You could have almost a 9% rate of suicide. The normal rate of suicide is 1% ever two years.And, long term studies on Seroquel are lacking. This means Seroquel could increase the incidence of sucide almost 20 times compared to TAS.
Some emails I received that corroborate my experience. These are just the ones who thought to look and reach out. I’m sure there were many more who are not represented. There was one young woman who was struggling with suicide who I will never forget. She private messaged me on Yahoo! Chat, saying she was going to commit suicide after talking to me, and she ascribed her suicdal thoughts to Seroquel. I reached out frantically to help her. That anonymous suffering soul never got back to me.It was a sad day for me.
glad I found your site.
Sun, Dec 29, 2002 3:39 PM EST
Add this to the list of bad experiences on seroquel:
I’ve been on seroquel for about a month.. and have had quite a change in temperment. I’m much more aggressive and I’ve had ‘episodes’ where I’ve had many homocidal and sucidal thoughts. I’ve beaten things up and cursed at people for the subtlestc things.
Hearing your story was a relief and putting it online was a great idea. At least I won’t feel like I’m the only one accusing the drug.
Mon, Mar 10, 2003 7:47 PM EST
I came across your paper on seroquel and it was the first real information I
have yet to come across that I can relate to. I have a lot of questions for
you? I hope that you don;t find this some what odd.
I have been on Seroquel for about 6 months ( 100 mg) and I go from feeling
like it is a gift from god, to thinking hat it is poisoniong me, as if my
body is toxic. I am calm for like weeks at a time and focused then my anger
and frustrations come back and i have anger and rage problems – always
gettigninto fight on the basketbakk court – when i loseit i really lose it
more than ever before, i think it could be the seroquel never knew of that
type of unnessesary rage. my mind is All over the place. IN addition I
take 200 mg Zoloft and 4 1mg Zanaz a day.
I am an intese kind of guy I guy- my fiance hates the pills wants me to stop
all of them .
To the average person this might sound like quite a regimine. However I
function and work in the executive recruiting business high intesity long
hours…..bad stress very bad. Work actually feels like it is killing me.
So what advise would you give a character such as myself.
Thu, Mar 13, 2003 9:51 PM EST
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Thanks for your quick response and advise. I don’t think the Ablify is avail in Canada yet, but still looking into that and the other med. I had contacted the Psychiatric Patient Advocacy Office for assistance, they are supposed to ensure that a patients rights are respected and needs are met, I had left a message with his latest Psychiatrist this morning, typically it takes 3-4 calls and a week before you can actually talk to them, I got a call from his shrink this afternoon so I guess I’ve got their attention. She sounds okay so far, she has taken him off the Seroquel for now, he’s so drugged from all the crap they gave him when they picked him up and they dope them up before transporting them anywhere, she wants to get as much of it out of his system as possible before assessing him and making any decisions. I guess I can respect that. I live in Alberta and have been working on moving George and Mom out here where I’m more able to help, I was hoping to get George more stable before moving him but if the Dr.’s won’t take him off Seroquel in Ontario I’m going to bring him to Alberta and try to find better help for him.
Feel free to pass on any of my info to anyone it may help, and anyone willing to share with me would be welcome.
I read your article…
Fri, Jun 20, 2003 1:57 PM EDT
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My name is Alexx. My youngest sister has been diagnosed schizophrenic about almost 1 year ago. For the past 4-5 years, she’s been to several different doctors to find out why, all of a sudden, she “changed”. A doctor finally diagnosed her schizophrenic. I just accompanied her to her psychiatrist appt. on Wednesday and her doctor INCREASED her dosage of Seroquel up to maximum 800 mg. per day. I decided to investigate the drug and that’s how I discovered your article. Now…I’m really concerned, because my sister had a “wierd” experience recently. She said she was having suicidal thoughts and actually called the police! She has breifly mentioned suicide before, but this time she actually called the police and they came to our house! this concersn me because I don’t think she’s been on Seroquel for a year, yet, but…..almost and this worries me. Any suggestions.
Fri, Aug 8, 2003 1:05 PM EDT
Dear William, I was interested in your comments about Seroquel. I curse the stuff, as I have seen it transform my daughter into a caricature of a human being. I know of several other people who have had a bad result e.g. formerly docile girls have become highly hostile and aggressive. Although I told the psychiatrist the drug was having a bad effect on my daughter, he persisted in applying it with horrifying rresults e.g. she became delirious, psychotic, had a personality change and started talking to imaginary people with constant mutterings. After two years of this under the public psychiatric hospital I deccided to take her away from that institution. I wish now that I had been much stronger and insisted, with the threat of legal action, that she be taken off this drug. I think that she is now suffering from tardive dementia, which I think may be irreversible. You probably know of Dr Peter Breggin, the crusader against the indiscriminate use of neuroleptics ( www.breggin.com). Everything he has said has come to pass. Sincerely, Mary Connor
Article on Seroquel
Fri, Apr 9, 2004 3:50 PM EDT
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I came across an article on seroquel through a google search, and this e-mail address was attached. If you are the writer of this article or know anything about it, I would like to speak to you. I know someone who has been on seroquel for only 4 days and since then they have been extremely suicidal. Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you can get back to me to let me know if I do indeed have the correct e-mail address. Thanks.
Wed, Oct 20, 2004 5:10 PM EDT
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I read your story and wanted you to know my twin brother committed suicide on July 10th of this year. He too was taking seroquel. He had been taking the drug since December of 03 from what we know. We are in the process of getting my brother’s medical records to find out more.
I am convinced that my brother would have not killed himself had he not been taking seroquel.
I just wanted you to know that he too was a victim of this horrible drug.
Thu, Oct 21, 2004 11:27 PM EDT
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I sent you an email through your web site, but often have trouble sending emails this way, so if this is a duplicate, I apologize.
I am writing because I found your article on the internet “Is Seoquel Safe?” My son, Dan, took his life May 8, 2004 while in a double blind drug study through the University of Minnesota, a study I had been trying to get him out of since last November, when he entered it.
I called his doctor continually, his caseworker, the woman who was the coordinator of the study, telling all of them he was not only doing no better, but he was deteriorating. I wrote to the Head of Psychiatry at the University, who finally answered me after my third letter. I had told them all that I saw a rage in my son that could not be allowed to come boiling out. I could go on for pages and pages, but essentially they did not care. They will be held accountable.
I would like to hear from you regarding how you felt on Seroquel. It really hit me when I saw that you used the word “rage” as that is exactly how I described what I saw in my son. Incidentally, the Head of Psychiatry at the University in his letter asked me how they should deal with the rage! I wasn’t sure who was the doctor at that point.
You are so right when you say that there has never been a long term study of Seroquel. Everything we could find on the internet talks only about 8 or 12 week studies. I’ve even found sites that state the safety of Seroquel has not been determined for long term studies. Also, your weight loss was interesting, as my son lost a lot of weight, and he could not afford to. He was 6’2″ and weighed 157 when he died.
Please give me your feelings on what Seroquel did to you, and if you know others who had similar experiences, I would like to know.
Are you aware that a pharmaceutical company does not have to report negative findings in a drug study to the FDA? I could simply not believe it! What is the purpose of the studies?
I look forward to hearing from you, and appreciate any information you can give me.
Is seroquel safe?
Tue, May 3, 2005 2:26 AM EDT
I have just done a search “homicidal thoughts”. To be honest, they are more than just thoughts to me. I have now on three occasions came so close to murdering someone that I felt my only option was suicide. I seriously need help and although I have pled with numerous doctors and psychiatrists for counseling I have not gotten any help and can no longer afford private psycho analysis. The confusing thing is that although I am really not an angry or violent person. Desperate? Yes…In pain and agony of course! But seriously homicidal? no. That is of course until…yes….I started taking seroquel.
Every anti depressant I have taken makes me violent and angry and I can not take birth control as well so maybe there is a possible connection there. When under stress my mind races, I get serious shakes, headaches, I throw up everything I eat, fevers and delusions. I thought seroquel was the only drug that seemed to help at all…at least it slowed my mind down. Of course, that was short term and you know what’s going on now. I’ve been on it for two years.
The only thing that I do know is that no one knows how it works!? Even the drug information in the library books says that there is no understanding of how it works, it just seems to work? Well……maybe it doesn’t work and I think your right. Anyway, the really scary thing is I am no longer shocked when I hear about these people in the news who just apparantly snap out of no where. Now I just seem to feel sorry for them, understanding how they feel.
Sat, Dec 31, 2005 7:58 PM EST
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I too googled Seroquel and suicide and came up with similar results as yours. I lost my husband last month to suicide and he had been on Seroquel for 5 years. Any thoughts?
Re: seroquel article
Thu, Feb 16, 2006 9:55 PM EST
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Thank you for you prompt reply and for the FDA information. I will definately contact them. I wish that media coverage would take this and all the suicide stories and make everyone aware of this horrific side effect. I wish you well in all that you do. Maybe one day we can make a difference. I know just being able to e-mail you was a help to me. Thank you so much.
————– Original message ————–
From: William Jiang
You can see the prescribing info on Seroquel here: http://www.seroquel.com/prof_asp/pi/One of the listed side effects of this drug is suicide. Ridiculous but true. If you’d like to report this drug to the FDA (which I suggest you do), go to: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/I just wish we could get Media coverage of this rare side effect. About 1 in 1000 people who come to my Seroquel story website tell me a similar story to yours. It seems that it is generally a well-tolerated and efficacious drug. That being said, people should know about this rare side effect.
I was searching the internet via google, as well, to find information on seroquel and suicide. My sweet son, not by any means suicidal, hung himself in our garage two weeks ago. He was a senior in high school and had just turned 18. He was seeing a psychiatrist for about two months because he had some anxiety issues. He was graduating early and going to start college. He wanted some help so that he could sleep at night and not worry about things quite so much. The Dr. put him on seroquel. He was on it for a month. When it was time to get a refill, the Dr. wanted to see him before she would refill the prescription. My son ended up sick the day of the appointment and I had to go out of town the next day. I called the Dr. to let her know that I would be gone for a week and ask her to fill a weeks worth of his meds and then we would be in to see her the day after I got back in town. She refused to fill the script and let him go “cold turkey” off of the pills. When I got back in town she could not see us for another week. Still would not fill the script. Two days later my son was dead.
I can tell you right now that my son was not suicidal at all. There is NO WAY he would have done anything like this. There was no warning, no signs, nothing!! I want more information on the link between this drug and suicide. My other kids are having a hard time, like myself, with his death. My 15 year old actually went to see a Psychiatrist because she has been so depressed since his death. They want to start her on the SAME DRUG!!! I said NO WAY!!
I appreciated your honesty and sincerity in your posting. I am sorry for the year you suffered like you did.
If you have any sites you think may answer some of my questions, I would love the information. Thanks and God Bless.
seroquel and suicide
Mon, Mar 26, 2007 3:48 PM EDT
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My dad was prescribed seroqual after he felt like his antidepressent was not doing enough. He commited sucide after about 10 days on the medication. I read a article that you wrote and wanted to know more about what you have discovered.
Mon, Apr 9, 2007 9:52 PM
I was just checking up on Seroquel and found your articles. My 27 year old son took his life after taking Seroquel (40 tablets ranging from 25mg to 100 mg). He received it with a typed note from his psychiatrist (who spoke with him offiically once due to a recommendation from his psychologist that he ‘get something’ for his mood). The note said take 25mg increase daily till tolerate or mood stablilizes. His main issue was he was having anxiety about his future and probably his sensitive past being dug up in the therapist office, and his trying to adapt to life after graduating from 6 years of University of Florida/College life.. He got a great paying job right out of school, he worked till he saved enough money to get himself a place after living with us for 9 months—he was driving 145 miles a day to and from work, so he was not irresponsible or mania but excited he was going to start a new life after living in Florida. We never saw any signs of mania and if he
was dealing with any depression it was probably in the form of anger and a frustration type of mood .This drug was given to him the day before he was making a major life change moving from Florida to Calif. He took his life two weeks after being in Calif.
AstraZeneca states that the patient is to have a blood test before recieving Seroquel, (from my research this should rule out any physical imbalances such as diabetes, hypo/hyperglycemia, thyroid, food allergies,candida infection, insulin resistance or some type of metabolic chaos.)
Then the patient is to be monitored (there was not one phone call to my son and of course my son turned into a zombie, as quoted from people I interviewed, so no reaching out coould be done on his part —he probably didn’t know how to handle what was happening to his mind– not knowing the dangerous affects from Seroquel that were causing metabolic chaos).
Next someone close to him was to be informed of the drug he was taking. No one knew he was taking Seroquel except the prescribing doctor.
There is no way he would have opt out so quickly. I have done tremenous amount of research and if serotonin is diminished, as Seroquel would do in a mania, but not good if in a depressive state. If a person cannot not function what does he feel about his self worth or life in general?
Understanding the metabolic process is crucial before handing out these ‘brain surgery quick fix pills.” Questions need to be asked, blood test taken especially for blood sugar problems. It can be a very simple answer such as stress to sleep issues to eating patterns, various addictions,etc.. Anything constantly challenging the body/mind is going to affect the metabolic process. But it can be corrected naturally with the right information available. I have researched on this. I wrote to both doctors but the HEP Law will not allow response. I took it to the state and they investigated but found no probable cause although they state that this does mean it wasn’t a contributor, just that the evidence wasn’t enough.
How it works:
Seroquel actually inhibits the cell from producing energy in supposedly mania bipolar I. If mistakenly given for instance for a case of unipolar, or depression, then it would be the floor going out—as my son stated in his final good-bye letter, “I do not have any will (energy) to fight this depression, it has won over me.”. No energy no hope. Question: on a daily basis how can a drug like this be controlled? Monitor it daily??? AstraZeneca’ motto is ‘don’t go it alone.’
Are the drug companies being abusive with their hype from their salesmen to the doctors, or are doctors to busy, or not really informed or? Everyone is different how can one pill cover all types of metabolic processes –the mind/body/spirit are not separate, what we do to one part we do to the whole. Where do we start?
Life is only beautiful when we feel good for then we are in some kind of balance or near our true nature. Our feelings indicate if we are in alignment with what is right for us or not but what to do if not is the big question.
Sincerely, RB, SB’s Mom
Your blog on Seroquel and Suicide
Fri, Feb 13, 2009 8:31 PM EST
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You are not alone. I too was suicidal very angry extremely bitter and
irritable after I was on Seroquel for over six months. I had demons if you can
believe it. It also caused painful side effects such as right upper quadrant
pain, pain in my bones and joints, blurry vision, the feeling of something
crawling on me (a little bug.. like a tic) urinating frequently. It also effected
my liver…a cat scan revealed an enlarged liver .. extreme constipation (I
went to the emergency room because it had been 15 days and I hadn’t had a b.m.)
It took one year for me to put it all together. The side effects krept up on
- I put it all down on paper and after seeing seven doctors because I
thought that I was going to die. I had so many tests.. My pain medication was
increased due to the abdominal pain.
I missed numerous amount of days of work ( I am a teacher) from this
The worse thing of all… was I tried to committ suicide last September. I
was taking Klonipon for sleep. I knew if I took enough it could put me in a
coma (I wanted to sleep and never wake up) and my blood pressure bottomed out
and they had to revive me.
I pleaded with my primary care physician to put me on something else and to
take me off of it and she said no. She said I needed to go to the doctor who
prescribed it to me, my Psychiatrist. I did call her and she never returned my
phone calls. I was too depressed to see her and she only saw patients on
Wednesday and Thursdays and was booked up for a month.
I finally saw my Psych. and told her I wanted off the S.
It has been two weeks and I have my life back. I told my Dr. I wanted to go
on Prozac because I was depressed.
I have Bi-Polar Disorder and Fibromylagia. Both doctors said my side effects
were from my Fibromylagia. I knew they were wrong. I KNEW it was the S.
Fri, Jun 26, 2009 4:01 PM EDT
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Thank you for your post on Seoguel in 2002. My husband and I just had a
close friend (47 years old) commit suicide from being on Seroquel this
past Sunday. You wonder how many people have to die for the FDA to start
regulating this drug more closely. It’s so sad.
- Nearly one-third of those diagnosed with schizophrenia will attempt suicide. About 10 percent of those with the diagnosis will commit suicide within 20 years of the beginning of the disorder.(http://psychcentral.com/disorders/schizophrenia/)
Seroquel (Quetiapine Fumarate) Drug Information: Indications …
The efficacy of SEROQUEL in schizophrenia was established in three 6-week trials
approximately 20x higher risk of homicidal/ suicidal thoughts due to Seroquel compared to treatment as usual.
See Author William Jiang, MLS quoted in the
NEW YORK TIMES
William Jiang, MLS is currently the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health , 3rd ed and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at http://www.mentalhealthbooks.net