Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment

Emergency Department Visits Involving Misuse and Abuse of the Antipsychotic Quetiapine: Results from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN)

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Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment 2015:9 39-46

Original Research

Published on 24 May 2015

DOI: 10.4137/SART.S22233

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Case reports in medical literature suggest that the atypical antipsychotic quetiapine, a medication not previously considered to have abuse potential, is now being subject to misuse and abuse (MUA; ie, taken when not prescribed for them or used in a way other than instructed by their health professional). Here we present systematic, nationally representative data from the 2005 to 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) for prevalence of emergency department (ED) visits among the U.S. general population involving quetiapine and related to MUA, suicide attempts, and adverse reactions. Nationally, quetiapine-related ED visits increased 90% between 2005 and 2011, from 35,581 ED visits to 67,497. DAWN data indicate that when used without medical supervision for recreational/self-medication purposes, quetiapine poses health risks for its users, especially among polydrug users and women. These findings suggest that the medical and public health communities should increase vigilance concerning this drug and its potential for MUA.




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