Former inmates and prisoner advocates allege that among the drugs being prescribed by prison physicians is Seroquel — a powerful antidepressant they claim is being used as a sleeping pill.
Seroquel has been available in Canada since 1998 and is approved by Health Canada for use in adults with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Here are some facts about Seroquel:
— Potentially fatal side effects include: hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), diabetes, constipation and intestinal obstruction, agranulocytosis (white blood cell deficiency), venous thromboembolism (blood clot that forms within a vein) and pulmonary embolism (blockage of the pulmonary artery by a blood clot), and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (life-threatening neurological disorder often caused by an adverse reaction to antipsychotic drugs).
— Less serious side effects include light-headedness, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth and weight gain. In rare cases, there have been reports of decreased body temperature (hypothermia), a combination of fever, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, and walking, talking, eating or other activities while asleep.
— Abrupt disuse can cause acute withdrawal symptoms including insomnia, nausea, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and irritability. Gradual withdrawal over a period of at least one to two weeks is advisable.
SOURCE: Health Canada.