Seroquel, like all medications to treat mental illness, has some impact on how the brain works. Understanding Seroquel works and the effects on serotonin is important when considering taking it.
What is Seroquel?
Seroquel is a psychotropic medication (i.e., medication used to treat mental illness) that is referred to as an "atypical antipsychotic." It is considered atypical simply because it does not work in the traditional way other, longstanding antipsychotic medication works. It is intended to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
History of Seroquel
SeroquelFacts.com states that Seroquel was developed in the 1990s and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for more than 10 years with regards to treating schizophrenia. In 2008, the FDA also approved the medication for long-term use to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
How Seroquel Works
Seroquel is thought to be an antagonist for two primary neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain), serotonin and dopamine. An antagonist essentially blocks the receptors for those neurotransmitters, helping to control the flow of these chemicals through the brain.
The effects of serotonin in the brain
When the brain produces too much serotonin, it can trigger rapid mood swings, either severe mania (e.g., overly happy, cannot sleep, feeling "on top of the world" for no apparent reason) or severe depression (e.g., feeling sad, blue or down, suicidal thoughts, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed). This is often referred to as a chemical imbalance.
Seroquel and Serotonin
Seroquel essentially blocks receptors from picking up any excess serotonin in the brain, restoring a healthier flow of the chemical and reducing mood swings. Seroquel is often used to enhance the effects of other antidepressant medication (e.g., Celexa, Zoloft or Lexapro).