Posted by
The Fool
• 04.15.11 12:30 pm

Looks like the guys at AstraZeneca are taking inspiration from Spinal Tap for the release of their new product, Seroquel XR. It’s basically a pill that’s designed to reinforce the effects of the anti-depressant you’re already taking, making it the pharmaceutical equivalent of bumping coke to push your MDMA peak.

Are you ready to have the volume in your brain turned all the way to 11?

Looks like the guys at AstraZeneca are taking inspiration from Spinal Tap for the release of their new product, Seroquel XR. It’s basically a pill that’s designed to reinforce the effects of the anti-depressant you’re already taking, making it the pharmaceutical equivalent of bumping coke to push your MDMA peak.

The manufacturer’s of Seroquel are selling it as a legitimate treatment option for those already on an anti-depressant who still have “unresolved issues” stemming from depression.

Reading between the lines, a more cynical view would be that they’re actually marketing this drug to people who are longing to recapture the initial rush of happiness and stability they felt when starting anti-depressants that has since faded into an ordinariness. Basically a re-up.

AstraZeneca could also be accused of targeting people who are emotionally confused and chasing some elusive notion of a normal happy life that they feel they haven’t fully achieved after starting on anti-depressants.

Either way, here’s the official sales pitch from the products’ website:

It’s impossible to dismiss the value of medicines designed for personality disorders when they are being used by people who really need them. I have a friend who suffers from a bi-polar condition and his medication keeps him from running around naked and screaming in people’s faces. The fact that he’s not in jail or homeless is a direct result of a proper treatment regimen that includes psychotropic drugs.

It would be equally ridiculous however to not be wary of the way in which these drugs are prescribed to the general population. There are problems inherent to the process of making a diagnosis for something as subjective as depression.

How depressed is too depressed? What’s a normal way to feel? Who can say?

If I check behind my ass and a rainbow isn’t shooting out of it, does that mean I’m depressed?

What if I didn’t laugh at all during the last Judd Apatow movie and haven’t showered for three days? Depressed?

The last person I would imagine being able to tell me if I’m depressed or not is my doctor. I see him for ten minutes twice a year whenever I have the flu. Can he really determine if I’m depressed by asking me medical grade questions like:

“Are you sad?”

“Do you ever feel panicked for no apparent reason?”

“Do you find it difficult to do things you would normally do with ease?”

“Are you restless?”

Who couldn’t say yes to one or more of those at some point in their lives? I could say yes to all of the above right now.

It might sound cynical on my part to suggest that this is anything other than an earnest attempt by a drug company to improve the life quality of those suffering from a personality disorder, but maybe it’s worth pausing to think about whether or not two pills might really be any better than one.


  1. Off-duty Public Relations Guru says:

    Hey, don’t knock BigPharm’s need to turn a buck, bro. Senators are expensive.

  2. Ames says:

    Killing it in the market you poor motherfuckers.

  3. iwontslowdown says:

    is this newsweek?

  4. White Rabbit says:

    Take the red pill, take the blue pill… Or put em both together and make it a purple!

  5. George says:

    Can you imagine how insane gen pop would be if speed and pot were both legal?

  6. Dave Steve says:

    Sarafem (fluoxetine, aka Prozac) for “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” is another example of how ridiculously overprescribed antidepressants are in this country. I think the tagline in their ads is something like, “If you suffer from this disorder we just made up, ask your doctor about Sarafem.”

    Also I think you might mean “wary” or “leery” instead of “weary.”

  7. Annie says:

    I was put on Seroquel XR in addition to Wellbutrin – this shit is HEAVY. Told to take it before bed bc other anti-depressants leave you sad AND awake at night but this shit is of a whole other level. Totally conscious but it was as if the stuff locked my brain up; formulating simple words and sentences was a struggle, pushing them out of my mouth was an entirely different experience. Personally, this was too much.

  8. FaceHeadAss says:

    I was on Seroquel in detox. Shit made me foggy and confused. They should give it to prison populations to keep them from raping each other.

  9. narcos says:

    It’s absolutely fucking retarded for you to imply that a general practitioner physician would prescribe this for you. No doctor that sees you twice a year for fifteen minutes would prescribe an antipsychotic for an off-label use (which is what quetiapine/Seroquel is). This stuff is only being prescribed by psychiatrists, usually in combination with talk therapy. It’s not like the same guy who’s holding your balls is going to give you a prescription for something to treat your personality disorder.

    Your “reading between the lines” could be much more accurately described as “having a conspiracy theory because I don’t know shit about psychiatry or the treatment of depression.”

  10. f*ck BIG PHARMA says:

    I was on paxil on and off from 1993-2007. Biggest fucking waste of time. I felt doped up and it made me crazier. The withdrawl was even worse. Big Pharma just wants to make a buck. We would all be happier if we didn’t take this crap. Smoke weed every now and then and fill your life with activities and people. (Basically get a life and quit sitting there doing nothing to actively improve your life. If something sucks, change it. If it still sucks change it again. All this Happy life stuff can be had without Big Pharma’s toxins.) Don’t drink the kool aid.

  11. The Fool says:

    @DaveSteve – I did mean ‘wary’. Thanks for the heads up.

    @Annie, FaceHeadAss, f*ck BIG PHARMA – cool to hear from those who have first hand experience with the sauce. Thanks for your comments.

  12. Cosmic Habituator says:

    Interesting add-up with these two I happened on in the past 18 hours:



  13. Miss universe says:

    Don’t forget the most important part: $$$$$$$$$. Pharmaceutical companies basically took over the job that religion has been doing for years: extracting sweat and tears in the form of dollar bills from people who feel lonely and worried about the future (everyone should feel this way if they’re functional adults. They should also build the coping mechanisms to make friends and create stability and self sooth, and these SSRIs just create declawed, numb zombies).

    Thanks for writing this and I’d love to hear more on the subject if you wanted to do some serious research…I got some great examples of anti-depressants ruining people’s lives.

    (They gave my friend prozac at 8 years old when his Dad died. 1., those drugs aren’t tested/designed for childrens brains, 2., of fucking course he was sad! Try therapy)

  14. narcos says:

    it is interesting that i had a comment that is critical of this post butit is still “awaiting moderation.”

  15. narcos says:

    Because the site refuses to post my earlier criticism of this post, I guess I’ll rephrase my comments. The major premise of most of your argument is that a patient can decide for himself or herself if this pill is right for them. This is simply not the case. Most doctors, especially those that prescribe these medications, do not respond to patient self-diagnosis. The doctors that do are the ones that would give you scripts for #500 oxycodone if you toss them some cash (therefore invalidating their opinions as doctors).
    You really shouldn’t be masquerading as an authority on this drug if you don’t understand the differences between on- and off-label use.

  16. milk is chillin says:

    “if you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be human, you’d be a game show host.”

  17. bolo says:

    vitamins, excercise, and sunshine. Not a lot of money in that, though…

  18. hector says:

    its weird in the uk. i have a friend who was prescribed pretty strong antidepressants, then her useless doctor refused a repeat prescription after a couple of months, really fucked with her head.

    another friend was misdiagnosed and prescribed citalopram. made him crazy
    plus dozens more

    basically i have a lot of depressed friends or there are a lot of shitty doctors keen to turn a buck from this junk

  19. derka derka says:

    Dirty liars. Coke kills the effects of MDMA.

  20. Zoloft says:

    Hey kids, do you ever get sad? Eat me, I guarantee you’ll be some degree of happy for a little while (until you gain 50 pounds). After that I can introduce you to my friend Seroquel. After that you’re pretty much fucked. But hey, there’s always crack! And meth!

  21. come on says:

    Always amazes me how many people seem to have opinions to share on this site despite no real knowledge of the subject matter. The fact that you are writing an article about antipsychotics and people are listening to you is pretty fucked up. Go through 13 years of school and training to become a psychiatrist and then talk.

  22. PRO-Psychotic says:

    Oh, @ Come On, all Fool said was, “pause to question.” If it’s such rocket science, then how come there’s a $25 million advertising campaign to promote this hazmat stuff to Joe Shmoe?

  23. letsgetrealforasecondhere says:

    @F*CK I think you explained the e act reason why you had major ups/downs/withdrawal from paxil. You can’t mess with that shit, it changes your entire body chemistry!!!
    Seems to me you Americans are too caught up in your conspiracy theory crap. When people are truly depressed, their bodies are NOT normal. To say “make friends, go outside, and take vitamins” is retarded and ignorant.
    Trauma can have an over reaching effect on a person’s entire internal chemistry. Repeated trauma is even worse. The damage it can do to the adrenals alone can impact the entire body; from energy levels, to appetite, fatigue, chronic pain, attention, and the list goes on. Please, please don’t talk about stuff you don’t understand. You do nothing but shame those people that truly are suffering from depression from ever seeking help, which can lead to tragic results.
    Money makes the world go round, and sadly, there are those that wish to profit from people’s illness. If any type of medication isn’t gelling you feel right, for chrissake ask for something different! It’s not rocket science. Don’t keep taking something that makes you feel like ass and worse than when you started! What’s the point in that? If you sought help from a dr, then it’s also your responsibility to keep that person abreast of how you are feeling. Get some knowledge instead of accepting something blindly then placing all the blame on someone else if it doesn’t work. Otherwise, it’s just as much your fault as it is theirs, if not more c

  24. letsgetrealforasecondhere says:

    Helping not gelling

  25. no says:

    @ come on. this writing makes a whole lot more sense than the dribble my therapist(s) try to spit at me… let alone prescription after prescription….
    a tablet wont change your life. motherfuckers be pushing that shit coz they’re getting PAID to. its quite obv.

  26. no, no says:

    @no: you are perfectly INcorrect. But so is @come on incorrect as well. As the author argues, a pill CAN change your life and make it much much better. The right pill to the right person at the right time can be a lifesaver. It can make parents of a troubled bipolar semi-schizo adult child literally weep for joy that their child can now finally hold a job and not be tormented by delusions and terrors that manifest and crescendo whenever. The main article celebrates that sort of heroic use. But in balance, the article also questions whether it’s appropriate to have advertisements that sell multiple pills for mere ‘depression’ on the fucking teevee: makes the author think the advertising push might be more a manifestation of Pharmo-medical-industrial Complex Syndrome.

  27. come on says:

    The reason there are massive ad campaigns is because pharmaceutical companies are businesses trying to turn a profit. Drug development costs hundreds of millions of dollars and can take over a decade and they are obviously advertising to recover these costs. However it is not the drug company that determines whether to not or take a certain drug, it is your physician. Physicians do not base prescriptions of advertisements, and good doctors I know don’t even allow drug representatives to come to their offices to try to ‘sell’ them on new drugs because studies have shown these visits can have negative impacts on prescription practices. Similarly despite the desire of drug companies to make money new pharmaceuticals are not approved by the FDA without massive clinical trials showing a statistically significant efficacy. Drugs definitely do not work the same in all people, but most drugs on the market DO work in some individuals. This is not a conspiracy.

  28. no says:

    Pharmaceutical tv advertising is banned in Australia… So dont know about the tv ad thing. Wonder why it’s banned here and not in the USA?
    @no,no I was mostly responding to @come on (as opposed to the author).

  29. no says:

    CBT. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I believe no one actually *needs* anti depressant medication…. It’s all in yer ‘ed innit!

  30. scoob says:

    @narcos I’ve had a general practitioner physician give me paxil. I don’t know how it compares to the drugs in the article but it was hell on earth to get off it and pretty creepy just taking it.

  31. Dork says:

    Stay on your drugs, or whatever, but if you want to increase your happiness factor, eat some good old saturated animal fat. Your brain is mostly fat (animal fat at that!), so melt a good-sized slab of Kerrygold butter on every meal & see how it affects your mood. It’s like taking a happy pill! Also, it reduces hangovers.

  32. elizabeth says:

    Seroquel is primarily for people with scizophrenia and secondarily those with bipolar (manic depression) created for the first group as an alternative to heavy psychotropic medications, used to treat the bipolar group as an alternative to lithium. It’s not a good drug. Psychiatrists should not be prescribing it as an anti-depressant.

  33. Swift Loris says:

    You talk about “people who are longing to recapture the initial rush of happiness and stability they felt when starting anti-depressants.” I don’t think many antidepressants provide that kind of “initial rush.” Typically it takes weeks to feel any effects at all (and often the initial side effects make you feel worse until your body adjusts to the medication).

    I’m largely in agreement about the overprescription of antidepressants; just wanted to point out that this particular bit of cynicism may not be warranted.

  34. yeahwhatever says:

    yes, it seems our good pal capitalism is working its way through the pharmaceutical industry. no denying that, any more than needing eight different kinds of cheese doodles or phones that do everything possible except give your life substance and meaning. it’s absurd. if you live in a third world country, my guess is that anti-depressants could be seen as a luxury like many other products of the capitalist-product-making factory. certainly, taking resposibility for your life is less popular than our western pill-popping attitude–for example, weight loss (no need to change your lifestyle, just take this pill!). Also, look at disposable this or that, so easy to use, but the disposable pen you throw away will be around for a thousand years. easy, easy, easy. it isn’t limited to psychiatric drugs. it’s the path of no resistance spawned by our culture fostering not only the development but also the presription and demand for these drugs.

  35. DCJ says:

    This post is based on a profound level of ignorance. I have been on anti-depressants for over eight years, and at various times have been prescribed virtually everything under the sun. I have been hospitalized three times, and over the years I have grown used to the peaks and valleys of major depression.

    I went on Seroquel XR August of last year, as a complement to the Zoloft I was already taking. The change was almost immediate and profound. It did not act as an “upper” but rather it brought an emotional and mental clarity that had been missing from my life for a long time. The fog seemed to lift, I was able to sleep again, and I became productive at work again. In other words, I returned to my “normal” self. I also no longer wanted to harm myself, a habit of mind and action that had resulted in two hospitalizations earlier in the year.

    There is absolutely no question whatsoever that Seroquel XR dramatically improved my mental health and my quality of life. I’ve now been on it for a good eight months and the effect has not worn off whatsoever. Of all the drugs I have been prescribed over the last eight years, Seroquel XR was by far the most effective.

    “How depressed is too depressed?” What a stupid fucking thing to write. Too depressed is wishing you were dead, being unable to sleep, giving up on life, harming yourself, and thinking about suicide all the time. You know, people die from this shit. Using the marketing of a new drug to try to shame people who are working very hard to medicate their depression, who want to lead normal and healthy lives, simply because it gives you the opportunity to rail against what you perceive to be an “overmedicated” society that is perhaps too soft or whatever the fuck you are trying to imply in your post is both ignorant and disgraceful.

  36. I Lern reeding reel good says:

    @ DCJ – your comment is based on a profound ignorance of what the article is saying. I feel like you might be a troll but in case you’re serious…Seroquel works for you…awesome…what does that have to do with the way this shit is marketed? And why is ‘how depressed is too depressed’ a dumb question? According to you only suicidal people are depressed? I know, its SO Obvious right. You’re living in a very small world buddy. But its okay, you’re on Seroquel after all.

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