Quetiapine fumarate, better known by its brand name “Seroquel”, is a type of antipsychotic that is used to treat certain mental conditions, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.
Over the past decade, the pharmaceutical company that manufacturers Seroquel, AstraZeneca, has been the target of multiple class action lawsuits. The basis of these class actions has primarily boiled down to two reasons: AstraZeneca failed to disclose dangerous side effects associated with the drug, and it urged doctors to prescribe Seroquel for reasons that were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In addition, countless product liability lawsuits have also been filed by patients who were injured after taking Seroquel.
Although many of the class action lawsuits have already been settled and AstraZeneca has since affixed proper warning labels to its Seroquel products, it is still possible for an injured party to file an action if they have suffered harm after taking Seroquel. To find out whether you have a supportable claim, you should contact a local personal injury attorney for more information.
What are the Common Side Effects of Seroquel? How Dangerous is Seroquel?
As is the case with many prescription drugs that are used to treat mental or mood disorders, there are many dangers and risks associated with taking Seroquel. Some common side effects and dangers of Seroquel use include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness;
- Upset stomach;
- Drowsiness or tiredness;
- Weight gain;
- Dry mouth;
- Blurred vision;
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (“NMS”);
- Tardive dyskinesia; and/or
- Birth defects.
The drug has also been linked to seizures, blindness, acute pancreatitis, diabetes, heart disease, comas, and even death in some instances.
What Are Quetiapine Lawsuits?
As previously mentioned, there have been a number of class actions and individual lawsuits filed due to injuries associated with Seroquel, including:
- Product liability claims (e.g., defective products, promotion of off-label use, and insufficient warning labels);
- Medical malpractice;
- General negligence;
- Personal injury; and
- Various other civil lawsuits (e.g., violating the False Claims Act).
In some cases, the defendant may also be subject to criminal penalties.
What Is a Defective Product?
A defective product refers to a product that has some kind of issue that makes it unreasonably dangerous for consumer use, such as a faulty product design, problems caused by the manufacturing process, and inadequate warning labels.
The majority of lawsuits filed against AstraZeneca were based on theories of defective product liability. For instance, one of the class actions alleged that Seroquel causes an increased risk of diabetes. Since AstraZeneca was aware of this side effect, but failed to warn doctors and patients about this potential risk, the plaintiffs’ lawyers were able to file a defective product class action suit for insufficient warning labels.
In addition, AstraZeneca has also been sued due to cases involving promotion of “off-label” use. This essentially means that they were marketing the drug for uses that the FDA had not previously approved like treating ADHD and PTSD.
What Do I Have to Prove to Win a Defective Product Lawsuit?
In order for a plaintiff to be successful in a defective product lawsuit, they will need to prove the following elements:
- The medication had an unreasonably dangerous defect;
- That defect caused injury to the plaintiff despite the fact that they used the product as it was intended; and
- That the plaintiff did not substantially alter the medication or combine it with other substances (e.g., alcohol) that it should not have been mixed with in the first place.
Is a Defective Product Lawsuit the Same as a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
A defective product lawsuit is not the same as a medical malpractice lawsuit. When a plaintiff files a defective product lawsuit, they are asserting that there is something wrong with the product (or in this case, the medication itself).
Medical malpractice, on the other hand, refers to when a medical professional has acted in a way that falls below the standard of care for all healthcare practitioners and that conduct causes injury to a patient.
For example, a patient may hold a physician accountable for medical malpractice if they prescribe Seroquel to a patient who did not require it and as a result of prescribing the wrong treatment, the patient developed NMS.
In contrast, if the doctor properly prescribed Seroquel to a patient who did in fact need it and they still developed NMS as a result of taking Seroquel because the medication did not provide an adequate warning label, then they may bring a suit against the manufacturer for a defective product.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit Against Seroquel?
A class action lawsuit can arise when a particular incident leads to widespread injuries in a large group of people that are caused by the same defendant. There are a variety of requirements that the injured parties will have to meet before they can qualify for bringing a class action lawsuit. Such requirements can vary by state and the type of class action lawsuit being filed.
The reason that class action lawsuits have been so beneficial for exposing injuries caused by pharmaceutical manufacturers and prescription drugs is because of the amount of evidence these suits provide. For instance, since so many people have been affected by inadequate warnings and related risks, class action lawsuits have helped to address the dangers of taking Seroquel.
One major class action has even prompted the FDA to intervene, which is why AstraZeneca has been required to provide a “black box” warning label since 2003. These labels are considered the most serious level of warnings that the FDA can impose.
Should I Join a Quetiapine Class Action Lawsuit or Sue the Manufacturer on My Own?
Whether an individual should join a class action lawsuit or sue the manufacturer directly on their own will depend on the type of claim they are filing and the circumstances of their case. The best way to find out which kind of lawsuit an individual should file is to consult Seroquel lawyers.
Lawyers who have experience with Seroquel related cases and other defective pharmaceutical cases can help assess the person’s claim, will know whether there are open class action lawsuits that they should or must join, and will also be able to negotiate settlements on a client’s behalf.
Will I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with a Quetiapine Lawsuit?
If you have suffered injuries due to the negative effects of Seroquel, then you should consult a local personal injury lawyer for further assistance. Seroquel attorneys will be able to determine whether you have a viable claim to file a separate lawsuit, or alternatively, if you can join an existing Seroquel class action suit.
Your lawyer can also discuss what rights you have as an injured patient, how the laws in your state may affect the outcome of your case, and the potential remedies that you can receive if your claim is successful. Additionally, a Seroquel attorney can represent you in court or negotiate a settlement on your behalf.