Carol Wright was recently named Family Caregiver of the Month by The Caregiver's Voice, a publication dedicated to the family and professional caregiver industry. Wright, at the age of 54, decided to devote herself full time to the care of her mother in the final few months of her life.
That was almost nine years ago—and in that time Wright's journey, and that of her mother, has crossed paths with Seroquel.
Dr. Raul Grosz, a board-certified neurologist with Neuroscience Consultants of Aventura and Miami Beach, Florida, notes in a YouTube video that "Seroquel carries a black box warning from the [US Food and Drug Administration} stating that it increases the risk of mortality and death in the use of patients with Alzheimer type dementias [Grosz is not Wright's doctor].
"This puts us in real a quandary. It is a real dilemma for us as physicians since this group of medications that Seroquel is in called neuroleptic or anti-psychotics can be very useful in controlling some of the psychosis and some of the behaviors that can be seen with this type of condition."
Wright, in a guest column penned for the December 5 issue of The Moderate Voice, relates the time when her mother was subjected to a battery of tests for unexplained nausea. While in the hospital, Wright explains, her elderly mother had the occasional episode of puzzlement and delusional confusion, and at times became somewhat combative as she tried to ward off "prodding, hurtful hands."
Her doctors put the elderly woman on Seroquel.
Within two months, Wright reports, "my mother slumped to [the] side [of] her chair so much I had to tie her in to keep her from falling. I stood guard so she wouldn't be hurt while she thrashed in bed, now padded everywhere. Sometimes she stiffened, slid from her chair like a '2 x 6' board. Now on the floor, face contorted, tongue choking. Eyes rolling."
That's when she saw an ad on television noting that Seroquel should not be used in elderly patients. "I see Mom on floor. I research online. So many of the bad side effects she has. Her doctors have made my mother straightjacket insane. We stop the Seroquel.…"
READ MORE SEROQUEL LEGAL NEWS
Various other adverse reactions, including Seroquel hyperglycemia are, of course, a concern. But equally worrisome, given the aging of the American population, is the need for appropriate—and safe—medications to treat Alzheimer's patients. Doctors are well aware of the risks associated with Seroquel for the elderly. And yet given the lack of drugs available and a doctor's legal capacity to prescribe drugs for indications beyond those approved by the FDA, boundaries will be pushed. Dr. Grosz notes that more research needs to happen, to afford doctors more options that are safer for the patient. For Carol Wright, however, her preference on behalf of her mother—where possible—is to go drug-free.