Monday, August 4, 2008

Abuse of Seroquel in Prisons Reported.

AstraZeneca "pushed" Seroquel contracts with large correctional healthcare firms, by offering it at about half the cost available in free world pharmacies. With continuity of care programs, AstraZeneca is aware that the free world doctors are most likely to continue the Seroquel upon the defendant's release. I would not be surprised if there is both a physical and psychological dependence on Seroquel. Just to note, Seroquel is one of the highest costing psychotropic medication there is.

Abuse of Seroquel in prisons reported
Antipsychotic medications are generally thought to have little potential for abuse. But a handful of psychiatrists have raised concerns about patients abusing and becoming addicted to Seroquel.


In separate letters in The American Journal of Psychiatry, psychiatrists in California and Ohio detail drug-seeking behavior, abuse and addiction to Seroquel among inmates at prisons in those two states.

According to a 2004 letter, staff members at the Los Angeles County jail said as many as 30 percent of the inmates seen by psychiatrists faked psychotic symptoms in order to obtain Seroquel. The psychiatrists said some inmates would take Seroquel by pulverizing the tablets and sniffing the powder.

In a letter published in the journal last year, psychiatrists Emil Pinta and Robert Taylor said inmates in Ohio threatened legal action or suicide when faced with ending their treatment of Seroquel, which is not an approved medication in Ohio prisons. Pinta wrote that in 35 years as a prison consultant, he could remember similar behavior only to obtain controlled substances.

In an interview, Taylor said Seroquel may be especially valued in prisons -- where sleeping can be difficult -- for its tranquilizing properties. He said he worked in the state mental health system for two years before moving to a prison in 2005.

"Within two weeks, it was apparent there was a Seroquel abuse problem in the prison that I had not seen in the state mental hospital," Taylor said.

Samantha Taylor, 29, of Claymont, said she started taking Seroquel while serving time at Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution near New Castle. Taylor said she thought a majority of the inmates in the prison were on Seroquel.

Delaware Department of Correction spokesman John Painter said about 42 prescriptions are written for Seroquel each month, which is "on the low end" of prescription drugs in Delaware prisons.

AstraZeneca would not comment on Seroquel's prevalence in prisons. Seroquel's label states that the drug has not been systematically studied for its potential for abuse, and patients should be observed closely for signs of misuse or abuse of Seroquel.

Although the problem seems to be most prevalent in prisons, a letter published last month in the psychiatry journal describes a 29-year-old man in California who checked himself into a psychiatric treatment unit with reported schizophrenic symptoms, for which he was treated with Seroquel.

The next morning, the man showed no signs of schizophrenia, and he admitted to abusing and reselling Seroquel after being confronted by a doctor.

The letter's authors said that prescriptions of Seroquel and other atypical antipsychotics for conditions like anxiety and insomnia have expanded their use to a broader patient population. If evidence of abuse becomes more widespread, they wrote, federal regulators may designate Seroquel as a controlled substance.

"Should such an unfortunate eventuality come to pass," the authors wrote, "we will be able to confidently lay the blame at the feet of our collective prescriptive imprudence."

3 comments:

Seroquel Side Effects said...

My name is Paul Harris and i would like to show you my personal experience with Seroquel.

I am 47 years old. Have been on Seroquel for 2 weeks now. I would NOT recommend this drug to anyone except those who only want to sleep all the time. Very poor!

I have experienced some of these side effects-
This drug knocks you out. Slept 17 hours with 200 mg dose the first time. Even 100 mg. makes me tired, dizzy, clouded mind, slurred speach and etc. all day.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Paul Harris

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between a medication being "addictive" and one having an effect, such as helping an individual sleep, which of course is the goal for anyone having trouble sleeping. I have never been in prison, so I cannot comment on how difficult it is to sleep in prison, but I would imagine it is difficult. I have sleeping problems myself. I also am bipolar. I am compliant with all my meds, but Seroquel is one I would not want to do without because it is the only thing I have found that enables me to get a restful night's sleep. I don't consider it an "addictive" drug. In fact, Seroquel enables me to maintain a steady and reliable sleep/wake cycle, something I was unable to do prior to Seroquel. I think people who make alarmist statements like saying people are doing "drug-seeking" behavior need to be careful with their statements. If you have a headache and seek out Tylenol, is that drug-seeking behavior because you are seeking out a drug that gets rid of your headache? I really think that much ado is being made out of nothing here. These people obviously want to get a good night's sleep. However, if you don't have to take it, I wouldn't, as you will get such a good 8 hours of sleep that you won't want to do without it. Plus, it causes horrible weight gain. I have gained over 40 pounds.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the last comment. I am bipolar and have tried many different meds. I own a business and have a wife and 2 kids. I am on lithium and lamictal as well as seroquel. Before seroquel I would not sleep much and would be crazy all day with a bad temper and suicidal thoughts. The first month of seroquel is a little rough. Now I am on 300mg a day and my life has been so much better. I am a new person. The sleep it allows is really the healing element. I am on a regular schedule. I take it at 1am and I am asleep by 2am and up at 11. It does cause weight gain so you have to exercise and watch diet. Sometimes I feel so good I forget how important it is that I dont miss a dose. I wouldn't say im addicted to it but I do appreciate what it does for me. The first time I took only 50mg and slept 18hrs. After a week or so your body adjusts until you get to a therapeutic dose. Hope this helps someone