Seroquel (Quetiapine) Withdrawal Timeline

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic federally approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Despite its clinical effectiveness, the drug has the potential for overdose and suddenly discontinuing treatment can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of a Seroquel Overdose

Though the likelihood of death or coma is not high for overdose of Seroquel alone, toxic doses of the antipsychotic drug can lead to other dangerous side effects. Signs and symptoms of a Seroquel overdose include1:

  • Sedation and extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Irregular heart beat (Arrhythmia)
  • Coma
  • Death

How is Seroquel Overdose Treated?

A Seroquel overdose requires immediate medical attention. The emergency dispatcher can provide guidance based on the dosage taken, the person’s size, other pre-existing health issues, and other medications taken. Until emergency help arrives, the person should not be left alone and their condition should be monitored. The dispatcher may recommend turning the person on their side to prevent aspiration. 

Medical professionals will ensure that the person’s airway is open and receiving adequate ventilation. The heart rate is monitored for irregularities. In cases of severe Seroquel overdose, a person might need to be put on an IV to prevent or reduce hypotension. Gastric lavage, or stomach pumping, may be required along with the use of activated charcoal to eliminate Seroquel from the body2. 

Seroquel withdrawal symptoms

Seroquel Withdrawal Symptoms And Why They Occur

Symptoms of withdrawal from Seroquel may occur, especially in cases where doses are discontinued suddenly. This is due to the fact that Seroquel acts on neurotransmitters in the brain to maintain a healthy balance of serotonin and dopamine. Over time, this change may lead the brain to become dependent on Seroquel, leading to the development of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued. Seroquel withdrawal symptoms include3:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
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Physical Risks Of Suddenly Quitting Seroquel

To prevent or reduce physical risks of sudden Seroquel discontinuation, doses should be reduced gradually based on a doctor’s recommendation. The tapering off period will depend on how much and how long the person has been taking Seroquel. Suddenly quitting can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and lead to physical risks including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dehydration as a result of vomiting and diarrhea
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Rapid weight changes
  • Vision problems
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Suicidal thoughts

Safe Treatment for Seroquel Withdrawal

The safest way to discontinue Seroquel use is to gradually reduce the dose. For cases of Seroquel abuse or high prescribed doses, the withdrawal period will be longer. Symptoms can last a few days to a couple of weeks. As part of in-patient treatment for Seroquel withdrawal, doctors may treat individual withdrawal symptoms to help maintain well-being. 

Generally, the patient should keep hydrated and maintain a healthy diet during Seroquel withdrawal. Engaging in physical activities like walking or cycling may be beneficial. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Seroquel

  • How long does Seroquel withdrawal last?

Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the dose and length of time a person has taken Seroquel. If taking a low dose for less than 12 weeks, symptoms may last a couple of days to weeks. For those on Seroquel longer than 12 weeks, the process can last as long as three weeks4.

  • What happens if you suddenly stop taking Seroquel? 

Sudden discontinuation of Seroquel will lead to potential dangerous side effects which may require medical attention. 

  • Do Seroquel side effects go away? 

Seroquel side effects should go away within a few weeks, depending on how long a person was on the drug and what the dosage was. Gradually tapering use will help reduce side effects and the length of the withdrawal period. 

  • How long does Seroquel stay in your urine?

Seroquel will typically stay in your system for about 12 hours after dosage with a half-life of about seven hours. It takes between 24 to 48 hours for Seroquel to be fully metabolized out of your body

  1. AstraZeneca. (2013). Highlights of Prescribing Information, Seroquel XR.
  2. S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—FDA Approved Drug Products. (2013). SEROQUEL XR®(quetiapine fumarate) tablets.
  3. AstraZeneca UK Limited. (n.d.). SEROQUEL 25 mg film-coated tablets, Patient Leaflet.