WHO Pharmaceuticals Newsletter 1998, No. 03&04
(1998; 18 pages)
Table of Contents
Open this folder and view contentsRegulatory actions
Open this folder and view contentsDrug surveillance
Close this folderNew developments
View the documentFinasteride - approved for male pattern baldness
View the documentParacetamol/acetylsalicylic acid/caffeine - first OTC medicine approved for migraine
View the documentQuetiapine - a new treatment for schizophrenia approved
View the documentRecent approvals
Open this folder and view contentsMedical devices
Open this folder and view contentsGeneral information
Open this folder and view contentsVeterinary medicine

Quetiapine - a new treatment for schizophrenia approved

United Kingdom. A new antipsychotic agent for the treatment of schizophrenia, quetiapine (SerquelR: Zeneca) has been approved.

Quetiapine is one of a group of drugs known as "atypical" antipsychotics. Clozapine was the first atypical antipsychotic drug to be approved, followed by risperidone, olanzapine and sertindole.

Quetiapine interacts with a broad range of receptors in the brain. It is an antagonist at serotonin (5HT2) and dopamine D1 and D2 receptors. It exhibits a higher affinity for serotonin receptors than for dopamine receptors and also possesses antihistamine and alfa-adrenergic antagonist properties, but has little effect on muscarinic receptors.

Studies have shown that the incidence of extrapyramidal effects is no different from placebo across the full dose range. There is no requirement for blood monitoring with quetiapine. The drug does not cause prolactin levels to rise (an effect associated with risperidone). A rise in prolactin can contribute to sexual dysfunction, impotence, lactation, breast pain and breast enlargement. Unlike sertindole, quetiapine does not affect cardiac conduction.

Reference: The Pharmaceutical Journal 259: 504 (1997).


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