Seroquel May Be Linked To Cardiac Death
The lawyers / attorneys at our firm are investigating the association between Seroquel and sudden cardiac deaths. At this time, we are offering free lawsuit consultations to the families of Seroquel sudden cardiac death victims.
According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac death (also called sudden arrest) is death resulting from an abrupt loss of heart function (cardiac arrest). The victim may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. The time and mode of death are unexpected, and occurs within minutes after symptoms appear. Our Seroquel sudden cardiac death lawyers have compiled compelling evidence that shows that people taking Seroquel face a higher risk of suffering this fate than others.
In January 2009, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that patients taking Seroquel and other atypical antipsychotics were more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than patients taking older antipsychotic drugs. In April 2009, a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel cited the risk of Seroquel sudden cardiac death when it recommended that the drug not be approved as a first line treatment for depression.
If someone you love was taking Seroquel and died unexpectedly as a result of sudden cardiac death, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact one of our Seroquel sudden cardiac death lawyers right away to protect your legal rights.
New England Journal of Medicine Study
Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic that was approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of schizophrenia. “Atypical” antipsychotics like Seroquel carry a decreased risk of side effects related to loss of motor control, a major problem with older “typical” antipsychotics. When it was first approved, the maker of Seroquel claimed the drug effectively controlled symptoms of schizophrenia, while avoiding the side effects that many patients found irritating or embarrassing.
The January 2009 New England Journal of Medicine study was the first to systematically investigate the association between drugs like Seroquel and sudden cardiac death. For the study, scientists at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine reviewed data on Tennessee Medicaid patients, comparing 44,218 people using older typical antipsychotics and 46,089 taking the newer atypical antipsychotics to 186,600 people who had never used the drugs.
Overall, people taking typical antipsychotics were at 1.99-times greater risk of sudden cardiac death, while the risk for those on atypical antipsychotics was increased 2.26 times. The increased risk was greater for people on higher doses of the drugs. People who had used the drugs in the past but stopped weren’t at greater risk of sudden cardiac death. The researchers concluded that atypical antipsychotics are not a safer alternative to typical antipsychotics in preventing death from sudden cardiac causes.
An editorial accompanying the study called for patients to undergo an electrocardiogram before and shortly after being placed on atypical antipsychotics, to determine if the drugs are causing any heart rhythm disturbances. It is also essential for their doctors to treat any other conditions, such as high blood pressure, that can harm the heart, the editorial said.
In April 2009, an FDA advisory panel cited The New England Journal of Medicine study when it unanimously voted not to recommend that Seroquel be approved as a first-line treatment for depression. However, in a separate 6-to-3 vote, the panelists recommended that the medication could be used as supplemental treatment for patients with depression who do not get symptom relief from other drugs.
Seroquel Off-Label Use
In addition to its use as a treatment for schizophrenia, Seroquel is often used off-label to treat other conditions. Such off-label treatments include anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and autism. Drugs like Seroquel are also used off-label to control aggression in elderly people with dementia. While doctors are legally allowed to prescribe an approved drug in any way they see fit, drug manufacturers are not permitted to promote off-label uses.
The association between sudden cardiac death and Seroquel is especially disturbing given that it is frequently used off-label to treat elderly dementia patients, a group that already is more likely to suffer from heart problems. Even before the link between Seroquel and sudden cardiac deaths was clear, it was already known that atypical antipsychotics put elderly patients at risk for death. In fact, in 2005, the FDA warned that such drugs increased the risk of death among elderly people.
Despite the 2005 warning, Seroquel is still frequently given to elderly dementia patients. But while there’s anecdotal evidence that drugs like Seroquel will reduce aggressive behaviors, there’s no scientific evidence that they really help at all.
Legal Help for Victims of Seroquel Sudden Cardiac Death
If you lost a loved one to sudden cardiac death, and you believe Seroquel is to blame, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case with one of the Seroquel sudden cardiac death lawyers at our firm.