Quetiapine fumarate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis: focus on myelin repair

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2013 Oct;19(10):737-44. doi: 10.1111/cns.12154. Epub 2013 Jul 22.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a central nervous system disorder that is associated with progressive oligodendrocyte and neuronal loss, axonal degeneration, and demyelination. Several medications that mitigate immune abnormalities reduce both the frequency of relapses and inflammation on magnetic resonance imaging, leading to improved outcomes for people with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. However, there are no treatments for the progressive forms of MS where neurons and axons continue to degenerate; here, neuroprotective therapies, or medications that rebuild myelin to confer axonal well-being, may be useful. Quetiapine fumarate is an atypical antipsychotic with reported remyelinating and neuroprotective properties in inflammatory and noninflammatory models of demyelination, including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, and both cuprizone- and global cerebral ischemia-induced demyelination. Preclinical studies suggest that quetiapine may exert these effects by stimulating proliferation and maturation of oligodendrocytes, releasing neurotrophic factors, increasing antioxidant defences, scavenging for free radicals, and inhibiting activated microglia, astrocytes, and T lymphocytes. Additionally, quetiapine may be beneficial for psychiatric and nonpsychiatric symptoms of MS including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and possibly even pain. These data indicate that clinical trials are justified to determine the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of quetiapine fumarate in MS.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; Neuroprotection; Oligodendrocyte; Quetiapine fumarate; Remyelination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dibenzothiazepines / pharmacology
  • Dibenzothiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Myelin Sheath / drug effects*
  • Myelin Sheath / pathology
  • Quetiapine Fumarate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Dibenzothiazepines
  • Quetiapine Fumarate