NURS 6630 Study Guide for Medication Treatment Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychosis Disorders

NURS 6630 Study Guide for Medication Treatment Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychosis Disorders

NURS 6630 Study Guide for Medication Treatment Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychosis Disorders

Antipsychotic agents, also called neuroleptic or major tranquilizers, are used primarily to treat schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is characterized primarily by a clear sensory but marked thinking disturbance. Second-generation/ Atypical antipsychotics are widely used due to their broad spectrum of receptor activity since they affect Serotonin, dopamine, and GABA neurotransmitters (de Miranda et al., 2020). Besides, they are better at alleviating negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunction than typical antipsychotics. The purpose of this assignment is to develop a study guide for an antipsychotic agent.

Drug Description

Quetiapine, whose brand name goes by Seroquel, is used in treating schizophrenia. It is FDA-approved for treating schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder (MDD) as an adjunctive treatment (de Miranda et al., 2020).

Non-FDA uses

The non-FDA uses of Seroquel include the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Alcohol Dependence, and Insomnia.

  • According to Ansara (2020), Seroquel exhibits efficacy in managing treatment-resistant-GAD as an adjunctive agent. In this case, smaller doses than those prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are usually needed for symptom improvement.
  • Seroquel has been found to reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers and has the potential for treatment for alcohol dependence, particularly among heavy drinkers (Vatsalya et al., 2020).
  • Low doses of quetiapine are usually prescribed for insomnia, although this is a non-FDA use due to potential adverse effects like weight gain and akathisia (Boafo et al., 2020).

Drug classification

Seroquel is an antipsychotic under second-generation antipsychotics.

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MOA Pharmacokinetics Pharmacodynamics
An antagonist for D2 receptors and serotonin receptors. Absorption: Bioavailability: 100%

Peak plasma time: Immediate release-1.5 hr; extended release-6 hrs

Reduces the hallucinations and delusions associated with schizophrenia by blocking dopamine receptors in the mesolimbic system of the brain.
Acts on dopaminergic D1 and D2 receptors. Metabolism: Metabolized in the liver by CYP3A4  


Excretion: Urine (73%), feces (20%).



Appropriate dosing: 150-750 mg/day (Immediate release); 400-800 mg/day (extended release).

Children <12 years: safety not established.

Children >12 years: Dose range 400-800 mg/day (de Miranda et al., 2020).

Geriatrics: 50-200 mg/day (Immediate); 50 mg/day (Extended)

Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Not recommended.

Route of Administration:  Orally.

Considerations for dosing alterations: Elderly and patients predisposed to hypotensive reactions.

NURS 6630 Study Guide for Medication Treatment Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychosis Disorders
NURS 6630 Study Guide for Medication Treatment Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychosis Disorders

Half-life:  The time it takes for the concentration of a drug to decrease to half of its initial dose in the body.

  • Understanding half-life is important because it determines a drug’s excretion rates and steady-state concentrations. After one half-life has passed, half of the starting drug amount is eliminated from the body (Smith et al., 2018).
  • Seroquel has a half-life of 6 hours for immediate release formulation and 7 hours for extended-release formulation.

Side effects/adverse reaction potentials

Seroquel is associated with various adverse effects, including somnolence fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, increased appetite, weight gain, orthostatic hypertension, and dizziness (de Miranda et al., 2020). Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a possible adverse effect due to the drug’s D2 receptor blockage.

Contraindications for use including significant drug-to-drug interactions

  • Currently, no identified FDA contraindications of quetiapine.
  • It is contraindicated in patients with documented hypersensitivity.
  • However, quetiapine is associated with an increased risk of death in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis (Osborne et al., 2020).
  • Precaution is needed with drugs that prolong QT intervals and patients with prolonged QT intervals.

Contraindications due to drug-to-drug interactions

  • Amisulpride
  • Goserelin
  • Lefamulin
  • Leuprolide

Overdose Considerations

Seroquel can be life-threatening if taken in an overdose. Toxicity occurs with levels > 1500 ng/mL.

Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment in an overdose.

Measures for acute toxicity include: Maintaining the airway; Ensuring adequate oxygenation; Ventilation (Osborne et al., 2020).

Gastric lavage and administration of activated charcoal with a laxative can prevent more drug absorption if promptly given.

Diagnostics and labs monitoring

The prescribing clinician should monitor the patient’s metabolic panel focusing on fasting glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, weight, and blood pressure (before and during treatment). Besides, patients on long-term treatment should have a lens exam every six months for cataract monitoring (Osborne et al., 2020). Leukopenia, neutropenia, and agranulocytosis can occur with Seroquel treatment, and thus a complete blood count (CBC) should be performed during the first few months of treatment (Osborne et al., 2020). In addition, orthostatic vital signs should be monitored in patients vulnerable to hypotension like geriatrics, patients with dehydration, hypovolemia, and those on antihypertensives.

Comorbidities considerations

  • Precautions should be taken in patients with hypokalemia, cardiac arrhythmia, and hypomagnesemia. Metabolic panels should be obtained before initiating the drug (Osborne et al., 2020).
  • Patients with diabetes mellitus should have their glucose monitored to avoid hyperosmolar coma.

Legal and ethical considerations

  • The clinician prescribing Seroquel should uphold beneficence by ensuring that the drug will have the maximum benefit in treating a patient’s psychotic, bipolar, or MDD symptoms. Nonmaleficence should be upheld by considering the drug’s side effects and ensuring that the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • The clinician should obtain consent from the patient before initiating treatment with Seroquel and explain the potential benefits and side effects for the patient to make an informed decision.
  • Confidentiality of the patient’s health information should be maintained to prevent legal consequences.

Pertinent patient education considerations

The patient should be educated about the drug’s indications, benefits, and side effects. Patients should be informed that the drug can be discontinued if they experience severe side effects and if they have a decrease in WBCs (de Miranda et al., 2020). Besides, they should be educated that abrupt drug discontinuation poses a risk for withdrawal symptoms.


Seroquel is a second-generation antipsychotic, FDA-approved for treating schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, and MDD. It is also used off-label in treating insomnia, treatment-resistant GAD, and alcohol dependence. Seroquel is an antagonist for D2 receptors and serotonin receptors, which results in reduced psychotic symptoms. Patients on Seroquel should be monitored for cholesterol and triglyceride levels, weight, blood pressure, fasting glucose, cataracts, complete blood count, and orthostatic vital signs. Ethical principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, confidentiality, and consent should be upheld when prescribing patient Seroquel.




Ansara, E. D. (2020). Management of treatment-resistant generalized anxiety disorder. The mental health clinician10(6), 326–334.

Boafo, A., Greenham, S., Sullivan, M., Bazaid, K., Suntharalingam, S., Silbernagel, L., Magner, K., & Robillard, R. (2020). Medications for sleep disturbance in children and adolescents with depression: a survey of Canadian child and adolescent psychiatrists. Child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health14, 10.

de Miranda, A. S., Ferreira, R. N., Teixeira, A. L., & de Miranda, A. S. (2020). Mood Stabilizers: Quetiapine. NeuroPsychopharmacotherapy, 1-23.

Osborne, V., Davies, M., Evans, A., & Shakir, S. (2020). Observational assessment of safety in Seroquel (OASIS): a specialist cohort event monitoring (SCEM) study in England. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology10, 2045125320954616.

Smith, D. A., Beaumont, K., Maurer, T. S., & Di, L. (2018). Relevance of Half-Life in Drug Design. Journal of medicinal chemistry61(10), 4273–4282.

Vatsalya, V., Kong, M., Marsano, L. M., Kurlawala, Z., Chandras, K. V., Schwandt, M. L., Ramchandani, V. A., & McClain, C. J. (2020). Interaction of Heavy Drinking Patterns and Depression Severity Predicts Efficacy of Quetiapine Fumarate XR in Lowering Alcohol Intake in Alcohol Use Disorder Patients. Substance abuse: research and treatment14, 1178221820955185.