Seroquel(quetiapine) has been approved by the FDA for treating both manic and depressive forms of bipolar disorder, Astra Zeneca announced on Monday. The drug was previously used for treating the manic form of the disease and schizophrenia, as are Zyprexa(Eli Lilly & Co), Risperdal(J&J) and Abilify(Bristol-Myers Squibb Co).
These drugs have fewer side effects unlike the older anti-psychotics which caused tremors and restlessness. Seroquel is one of its manufacturer's best selling drugs having a sales figure of $2.8 billion last year. Around 7 million people in the US suffer from bipolar disorder and they find treatment difficult due to the complexity of the disease which had to be monitored with different drugs. John Patterson, Executive Director of Development, Astra Zeneca said that a single drug treatment will make it easier for the patients to stay on track.
Bipolar disorder is a characteristic mental imbalance in which the patient experiences wild mood swings, feeling elated during episodes of mania and then immediately suffering from a severe depression.
An eight week study of 1045 affected patients was conducted before the drug was approved by the FDA.