Legal actions started when the FDA ordered a label change several years ago, indicating patients are at a heightened risk of contracting diabetes and other blood sugar disorders such as hyperglycemia. Patients taking Seroquel have been shown to have more than three times as many cases of diabetes as those taking older antipsychotic drugs. Health advocates have also raised concerns that the drug may be addictive.
More Lawsuits: AstraZeneca on the Defensive
The National Law Journal reports that in a one-month period, plaintiffs have filed more than 350 product liability cases against AstraZeneca in Delaware state court alone.
While thousands of complaints have been filed across the country, Mike Kelly, a lawyer for AstraZeneca said: "We stand behind Seroquel, which is a great product that has helped a lot of people."
Mr. Kelly's remarks are typical of Big Pharma companies. But while they may defend their products against the odds, drug makers often quietly agree to pay out class actions and other costly legal settlements.
For example, one prominent lawyer notes that the drug maker Lilly agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle 28,500 state and federal claims about its drug Zyprexa, yet all the while the company continued to deny liability.
Patients Speak Out: Diabetes and Withdrawal Fears
Former Seroquel users have been speaking out about their experiences, discussing possible links to diabetes, as well as fears about addiction to the powerful drug.
One patient told a ProgressiveU forum (a nonpartisan social welfare organization that encourages an open discussion of current events, progressive values, and public policy) that she believes she "developed diabetes after taking Seroquel. In 2005 they started putting a warning about diabetes on the bottle, but I never saw one, and my doctor did not know about it until 6 months in [when] I had developed type II diabetes."
Another patient, who has become pre-diabetic since using Seroquel, stated:
"If I had known about the health consequences of being on this medication and my doctor had forewarned me, I would never have taken this medication. I think this calls for a lawsuit."
Withdrawal is another concern for Seroquel users, particularly when the drug has been prescribed off-label for insomnia. One patient described his experience after discontinuing use of Seroquel this way: "I've been off Seroquel for about 80 days now. I'm having tons of anxiety, not feeling like eating. ... I never had any of these things before I was on Seroquel."
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
The Future of Seroquel
Now that the courts and health advocates taking action, Seroquel faces an uncertain future. Many doctors are prescribing other medications to former Seroquel users, and many patients are seeking alternatives to the drug.
If you are taking Seroquel and have concerns, speak to your doctor. Physicians advise that it is unsafe to discontinue the drug without medical advisement. If you believe you have suffered as a result of Seroquel use, you are not alone. Contact a legal professional to assess your options.