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What Is Bipolar Disorder?

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Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that can affect both how you feel and how you act. It is a mood disorder thought to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain that can result in extreme swings in mood—from manic highs to depressive lows.

To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must have experienced a high period (mania). Bipolar mania is described as an "extreme high," or feeling unusually great. Most people with bipolar disorder, when ill or when symptomatic, experience more lows than highs.

These lows are known as bipolar depression. The good news is that there are clinically proven bipolar disorder treatment options available that may help. Your doctor can help you find a treatment plan that works for you. To help prepare for your next doctor visit, download questions
to ask your doctor

Bipolar disorder treatment

If you're still living with symptoms of bipolar disorder, you should know that many people with the condition are able to manage their symptoms. Feeling better often involves a combination of education, medication, and therapy, including psychotherapy, or "talk therapy." There are
a number of different medications, including SEROQUEL XR, that have been shown to be effective in people with bipolar disorder.

Some of the goals of bipolar disorder treatment

  • Reduce symptoms of depressive episodes
  • Reduce symptoms of manic episodes
  • Reduce the likelihood of future episodes/relapse
  • Reduce the severity of the disease
  • Provide assistance and support to patients and family

Bipolar disorder medication

Many types of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder. One medication approved to treat bipolar disorder is SEROQUEL XR. Learn more about SEROQUEL XR.

Your doctor can tell you what kind of improvements and potential side effects you may expect with SEROQUEL XR. It may take some time before you start to feel better, but by finding a treatment that works for you, and taking it as prescribed, you can work toward getting back to the things you once enjoyed.

Your health care professional will depend on you to let him or her know exactly how you are feeling, so your treatment can be adjusted, if needed. Use these questions to ask your doctor to help prepare for your next appointment.

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) for bipolar disorder

Psychotherapy (also called talk therapy) can make it easier for patients and families to better cope with disturbing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with bipolar disorder. Talk therapy focuses on several important aspects of bipolar disorder management, including:

  • Recognition of and treatment for recurrent mood episodes
  • Management of stress, interpersonal/family issues, and regularity of daily activities
  • Development of problem-solving skills

Psychotherapy can be used in combination with medication and other treatment approaches.
Find out more about living with bipolar disorder.

Important Safety Information for SEROQUEL XR

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis (having lost touch with reality due to confusion and memory loss) treated with this type of medicine are at an increased risk of death, compared to placebo (sugar pill). SEROQUEL XR is not approved for treating these patients.

Antidepressants have increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults. Patients of all ages starting treatment should be watched closely for worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, unusual changes in behavior, agitation, and irritability. Patients, families, and caregivers should pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is started or when the dose is changed. These symptoms should be reported immediately to the doctor. SEROQUEL XR is not approved for patients under the age of 10 years.

  • Do not take SEROQUEL XR if you are allergic to quetiapine fumarate or any of the ingredients in SEROQUEL XR.
  • Stroke that can lead to death can happen in elderly people with dementia who take medicines like SEROQUEL XR.
  • Stop SEROQUEL XR and call your doctor right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms: high fever; excessive sweating; stiff muscles; confusion; changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure. These may be symptoms of a rare, but very serious and potentially fatal, side effect called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
  • High blood sugar and diabetes have been reported with SEROQUEL XR and medicines like it. If you have diabetes or risk factors such as obesity or a family history of diabetes, your doctor should check your blood sugar before you start taking SEROQUEL XR and also during therapy. If you develop symptoms of high blood sugar or diabetes, such as excessive thirst or hunger, increased urination, or weakness, contact your doctor. Complications from diabetes can be serious and even life threatening.
  • Increases in triglycerides and in LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreases in HDL (good) cholesterol have been reported with SEROQUEL XR. Your doctor should check your cholesterol levels before you start SEROQUEL XR and during therapy.
  • Weight gain has been reported with SEROQUEL XR. Your doctor should check your weight regularly.
  • Tell your doctor about any movements you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other body parts, as they may be signs of a serious condition called tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD may not go away, even if you stop taking SEROQUEL XR. TD may also start after you stop taking SEROQUEL XR.
  • Other risks include feeling dizzy or lightheaded upon standing, decreases in white blood cells (which can be fatal), or trouble swallowing. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these.
  • Before starting treatment, tell your doctor about all prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking. Also tell your doctor if you have or have had low white blood cell count, seizures, abnormal thyroid tests, high prolactin levels, heart or liver problems, or cataracts. An eye exam for cataracts is recommended at the beginning of treatment and every 6 months thereafter.
  • Since drowsiness has been reported with SEROQUEL XR, you should not participate in activities such as driving or operating machinery until you know that you can do so safely. Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated while taking SEROQUEL XR. Do not drink alcohol while taking SEROQUEL XR.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Avoid breast-feeding while taking SEROQUEL XR.
  • The most common side effects are drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, increased appetite, upset stomach, weight gain, fatigue, disturbance in speech and language, and stuffy nose.
  • Do not stop taking SEROQUEL XR without talking to your doctor. Stopping SEROQUEL XR suddenly may cause side effects.

This is not a complete summary of safety information. Please discuss the full Prescribing Information with your health care provider.

Indications for SEROQUEL XR

SEROQUEL XR is a once-daily tablet approved in adults for (1) add-on treatment to an antidepressant for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who did not have an adequate response to antidepressant therapy; (2) acute depressive episodes in bipolar disorder; (3) acute manic or mixed episodes in bipolar disorder alone or with lithium or divalproex; (4) long-term treatment of bipolar disorder with lithium or divalproex; and (5) schizophrenia.

Please read the accompanying Medication Guide and full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

The information on this Web site should not take the place of talking with your doctor or health care professional. If you have any questions about your condition, or if you would like more information about SEROQUEL XR, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Only you and your health care professional can decide if SEROQUEL XR is right for you.

Patient photos are intended to be representative of typical patients with bipolar disorder and are not of actual patients.

SEROQUEL XR is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.

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