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Parker & Waichman LLP and Aylstock, Witkens & Sasser PLC File Class Action Against AstraZeneca PLC on Behalf of Seroquel Patients

Aug 28, 2003 | PR Newswire

Parker & Waichman LLP and Aylstock, Witkens & Sasser PLC announced that a class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on behalf of all patients who have used the popular anti-psychotic drug Seroquel. Seroquel is part of the new class of anti-psychotic drugs known as atypical anti-psychotics, and is manufactured, distributed and marketed by AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN - News) and its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP ("AstraZeneca"). Information on the lawsuit can be found at .

A recent study has linked the use of Seroquel to an unacceptable rate of diabetes onset. Data from this study showed that patients on Seroquel had a significantly higher number of incidences of diabetes than those on older drugs or other atypical anti-psychotics. The lawsuit alleges that AstraZeneca was aware that Seroquel caused a high occurrence of diabetes, but failed to adequately warn doctors or patients in the United States. The Japanese label for Seroquel provides a detailed warning about the risk of diabetes and specifically informs medical professionals regarding the need for medical monitoring of patients on Seroquel.

The Japanese Seroquel label warns specifically of the diabetes risk, prominently in the beginning of the package label stating:

Seroquel (Quetiapine) is contraindicated for use in patients with diabetes or a history of diabetes.

Seroquel (Quetiapine) should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for diabetes, including hyperglycemia, obesity or a family history of diabetes.

Patients receiving Seroquel (Quetiapine) should be carefully monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia and the drug should be discontinued if such symptoms occur. The symptoms of severe hyperglycemia include weakness, excessive eating, excessive thirst, and excessive urination.

Physicians should educate patients and their family members about the risk of serious hyperglycemia associated with Seroquel (Quetiapine)and how to identify the symptoms of hyperglycemia.

AstraZeneca has not adopted this safer, more accurate and comprehensive label for the U.S. distribution of Seroquel.

"When studies show that a medication is linked so often to a disease as serious as diabetes, it is unconscionable that a drug company would not take the necessary steps to protect the public," commented Jerry Parker, one of the founding partners of Parker & Waichman. "What is particularly upsetting is that a pharmaceutical company would provide a greater warning of a serious side effect of a pharmaceutical in one country but not provide the residents of the United States the benefit of that same warning."

A plaintiff in the lawsuit, a resident of Washington, suffered from rapid weight gain, increased thirst, frequent urinating, and other symptoms commonly associated with diabetes after taking Seroquel. Shortly thereafter, while taking Seroquel, the plaintiff was diagnosed with diabetes which puts her at risk of serious diabetic complications including: ketoacidosis, pancreatitis, coma, seizures, blindness, heart disease and death. The lawsuit seeks statutory, exemplary and punitive damages from the defendants for the flagrant disregard of the lives and health of the plaintiffs and class members.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that AstraZeneca aggressively marketed and promoted Seroquel for off label use that was beyond its FDA approved indications. AstraZeneca offered incentives to doctors and other medical professionals to increase the number of Seroquel prescriptions that were written. Another plaintiff in the lawsuit, a minor in Florida, was prescribed Seroquel after sales representatives encouraged off label use in children. This plaintiff has since suffered from rapid weight gain, increased thirst, frequent urinating, and other symptoms commonly associated with the onset of diabetes.

Additionally, the class action lawsuit seeks to establish a medical monitoring fund to pay for any person who has taken Seroquel to be tested for diabetes and other blood sugar disorders.

Parker & Waichman and associated counsel currently represent thousands of victims of prescription drug side effects including Baycol, Fen Phen, Rezulin, Accutane, Paxil and Prempro. For more information on Parker & Waichman, please visit

Anyone who has used Seroquel is encouraged to visit to request a free, no obligation, case evaluation. A case evaluation can also be requested by contacting Parker & Waichman at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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