Quetiapine (Seroquel)


Overview: Quetiapine, known by the brand name Seroquel, is an antipsychotic of the Atypical class – the most frequently used class of antipsychotics. Quetiapine is used to treat Psychosis – including Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Rarely, the medication is used for Depression. Quetiapine has helped many people control their symptoms. Quetiapine is only available on prescription.


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Key Facts: It will take around four to six weeks for a patient to feel the full benefits of Quetiapine. However, anxiety should lessen rapidly upon consumption of the drug. There are some side effects to Quetiapine, as mentioned below. Quetiapine should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking the medicine. The medicine should help control your symptoms.


How do they work?: Antipsychotics cannot help cure mental health conditions, but they are usually effective in reducing and controlling some of the symptoms associated with these conditions. These symptoms can include delusions and hallucinations, disturbed thoughts, agitation, mania and violence. The medication works by blocking the action of dopamine. It is believed psychotic episodes are caused by the brain producing too much of the chemical dopamine. The medication also regulates levels of other chemicals that are responsible for regulating mood – such as noradrenaline and serotonin. It is recommended that Quetiapine is used in conjunction with therapy.


Dosage: Dosage of Quetiapine can range anywhere from 150mg to 800mg per day. Quetiapine has a strong sedation effect on patients – and therefore it is recommended to take the tablet just before bedtime. In high doses, two tablets will need to be taken – one in the morning. Quetiapine can be taken with or without food, and you are advised to swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. There is no set duration of treatment for Quetiapine, with the course differing from patient to patient, dependent on circumstance and symptoms.


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Side Effects

With each box of Quetiapine, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Quetiapine can last any length of time from just a few days to permanent changes. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Quetiapine include a dry mouth, dizziness, headache, sedation, constipation, increased appetite, insomnia, lethargy, tremor, weight gain, abnormal muscle movements, blurred vision.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, chest pain, movement disorders, seizures, jaundice, tardive dyskinesia and Priapism. An overdose should be avoided. You should contact your doctor if any of these serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information there. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. You shouldn’t use any other antipsychotic medication with Quetiapine. Do not use any antipsychotic with Tricyclic Antidepressants. Other medicines that interact poorly with Quetiapine include epilepsy medicines, sedatives, blood pressure medicines, mood stabilisers, anticholingernics and some antibiotics. Ask your doctor if you are unsure on combining drugs.


Don’t take Quetiapine if you are using any HIV medicines, azole medication, erythromycin, clarithomycin or Nefazodone.


Exert caution when using Quetiapine if you have a history of heart problems, have a low blood pressure, convulsions, diabetes, dementia, blood clots or urinary retention.


Alcohol acts as a sedative, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antipsychotic doesn’t consume alcohol. You should also not drink grapefruit juice if you are taking Quetiapine. Combining Quetiapine with recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Quetiapine is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. It is believed that Quetiapine can cause withdrawal symptoms in breastfed babies.


Other Atypical Antipsychotics: