What is Seroquel? Applications, abuse potential and more (2023)

Seroquel, also known asquetiapine, is approved for the treatment of certain mood disorders. The FDA originally approved this drug.in 1997.Since then, sales of antipsychotic drugs have increased dramatically, as have the many uses for Seroquel. This happened because people started taking quetiapine fumarate pills for off-label reasons that are not among the usual uses of Seroquel and for recreational purposes at a higher than average dose. The main causes of drug abuse include taking drugs in unapproved doses and for unapproved purposes. Failure to follow a doctor's prescribed treatment plan and little information available about the drug's potential for abuse can also lead to addiction to this drug.

So what is Seroquel and what is it for? Why can it be abused? Is Seroquel addictive? Read on to find out.

What is Seroquel?

The Seroquel class of drugsis calledatypical antipsychotics. Drugs in this category are only available with a prescription. Quetiapine acts on neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in a calming and mood-enhancing effect. Simultaneously,half-life of seroquelit's about6 hours, and the prescribed dose must be taken several times a day to achieve a long-lasting calming effect.

What is Seroquel? Applications, abuse potential and more (1)

Quetiapine was first launched in 1997 and is considered a safer drug and highly recommended for patients with high sensitivity to alternative drugs such as clozapine and olanzapine.

Like any other FDA-approved prescription drug that uses quetiapine as the main ingredient, there is a risk of experiencing various side effects. Your abuse and addiction are the other concerns you need to worry about.

However, when taken strictly in the dosage prescribed by a doctor and on schedule, the benefits are expected to outweigh the side effects.Special care is neededto avoid interactions with other drugs and to prevent drug tolerance and possible overdose.

What is Seroquel used for?

Quetiapine fumarate, the main compound that imparts potency to the drug, has been specifically approved in the United States and Canada for the treatment of only three specific psychiatric disorders.

Quetiapine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the following uses:

  • management of schizophrenia
  • Management of bipolar disorder
  • Complementary treatment for major depression

A doctor may also prescribe it for another off-label condition.em 2010Seroquel's maker, AstraZeneca, was even fined$520 millionby the US government for allegedly marketing the unauthorized use of the drug. Among other things, the use of sleep was a common clue. According to a study by Jonathan Brett in2015, there is not enough information to support the effectiveness of the medication for insomnia.

seroquel for schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which thoughts, emotions, and behavior do not follow a rational pattern. This lack of mental coherence leads to delusions and strong and often inappropriate emotions. Quetiapine helps in the treatment of schizophreniaRestore a desirable balance of dopamine and serotonin..

Seroquel for Bipolar Disorder

Seroquel for bipolar depression, or more specifically depressive episodes in bipolar disorder, is also a condition that leads to the prescription of quetiapine. Manic episodes of bipolar disorder and long-term maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder are also commonly treated with antipsychotic medications.

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seroquel for depression

The use of Seroquel for depression is recommended as adjunctive treatment. This means that the antipsychotic medication isin combination with other antidepressantsto help treat major depressive disorder. One study showed thatefficiencythe use of Seroquel for depression and to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. It has been found to be effective in treating mood disorders associated with mental disorders. Endorsed the use of Seroquel in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychotic features, and other psychiatric conditions. Quetiapine acts through multiple receptors, but its main action is thought to be through its action on serotonin receptors. It is usually used inConnectionwith other typical antidepressants to increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Off-label use of drugs in psychiatry

In accordance withNational Alliance for Mental Illness(NAMI), there are also off-label uses of quetiapine that have shown benefits and generally outweigh the risks commonly associated with quetiapine. Some of these terms are defined below.

Seroquel for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that usually develops in people who have experienced violence or traumatic environmental events. The antipsychotic medication benefits people with PTSD when taken as an adjunctive treatment.

(Video) Quetiapine (Seroquel): What You Need To Know

In a study inInternational Clinical Psychopharmacology, patients were found to have significant symptoms of PTSDbenefits more when quetiapine is addedto your treatment plan.

seroquel for anxiety

One of the most popular uses for Seroquel is to use Seroquel for anxiety. It was examined in one study; investigators have found that quetiapine may bebeneficial for patientsHe suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Seroquel for anxiety can be considered an alternative treatment. Despite this, the researchers cautioned that even the low doses of quetiapine used to treat these conditions could lead to unwanted side effects. However, a differentlearnon the use of Seroquel for anxiety showed a significant improvement in symptoms in subjects with GAD within the first week of treatment with quetiapine using once-daily doses of extended-release formulations.

Seroquel for OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is classified as a mental health disorder in which the affected person exhibits an obsession, a desire that leads them to act repeatedly.

Results of a study published inExperienced Psychopharmacologyshowed that quetiapine, used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, did not significantly improve the symptoms of study participants. In contrast, OCD symptoms appeared to worsen between 4 and 12 weeks after adding quetiapine to an OCD regimen, and there is very little data to support its use in this condition.

Is Seroquel addictive?

Information available on Seroquel abuse from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationshowsla laa total of 1.25 million casesentertained in ER with abuse or substance abuse, approx.8%antipsychotics involved. Of these, approximately half involved quetiapine abuse.

What is Seroquel? Applications, abuse potential and more (3)

However, quetiapine isnot considered a controlled substancedue to the misperception that the drug has little or no addictive potential. However, several animal studies have shown that the antipsychotic workssignificant impactin the brain's serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways, the brain's reward systems. this has thepotentially lead to addiction, abuse and finally dependence.

A possible driving force behind the abuse of quetiapine is the sedative and hallucinogenic properties it exerts through its effects on histaminergic, adrenergic, and dopaminergic receptors. Some people also abuse extended-release quetiapine by snorting powdered pills or injecting the drug, greatly increasing the risk of quetiapine.Seroquel Overdose. Other dangerous trends include combining the use ofQuetiapine with alcohol,Heroinor other illegal drugs.

also the concernQuetiapine prescription trendOff-label use to treat insomnia has needlessly exposed patients to several dangerous side effects of the drug, especially when the immediate-release formulation is used. Another concern with off-label use of quetiapine, especially without a prescription, is the increased potential for abuse and dependency.

This has manifested asillegal street marketby the drug Quetiapine abuse is prevalent among institutionalized young men, such as those in prisons or psychiatric institutions.

Signs of Seroquel abuse

If Seroquel abuse is suspected, there are telltale signs that can help determine if there is cause for concern. These signs can be broadly classified into physical and behavioral categories.

Physical signs of quetiapine abuse are typicalmanifest asdrug side effects. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine if the person is experiencing typical drug side effects or effects due to drug abuse.

In addition to the physical signs of abuse, there are also some behavioral changes associated with quetiapine abuse. These are collectively known as addictive behaviors.

(Video) Seroquel

They include:

  • Craving for the drug when not under the influence.
  • Changes in appearance or normal level of personal hygiene
  • Poor performance at school or work.
  • Taking the drug for recreational use.
  • Inability to stop taking the drug despite health problems.
  • Taking the drug with other people.illegal drugs
  • Using the drug while engaging in high-risk activities such as driving, risky sexual behavior, extravagant spending, etc.
  • Continued search for the drug despite the financial implications.
  • Withdrawn behavior and problems with interpersonal relationships.

Seroquel addiction treatment

Successfully overcoming this addiction requires three main steps: withdrawal and detoxification, drug rehabilitation, and aftercare.

Withdrawal and detox

Detoxification of this antipsychoticshould never be attempted without professional help.Seroquel withdrawal symptomsthey are known to be serious if not treated well. The discomfort of experiencing withdrawal symptoms can also discourage a patient from continuing treatment and therapy, making proper treatment even more important. Therefore, the first step towards recovery is to seek help at a drug rehab center.

drug rehab treatment program

Oaddiction treatmentThe approach will be different for each patient. In general, the treatment of this addiction usually involvesCognitive Behavioral Therapy.

What is Seroquel? Applications, abuse potential and more (4)

If necessary, some patients may also require medication-assisted therapy to overcome quetiapine dependence. Professional follow-up is essential at this stage, especially in the treatment of other diseases or concomitant disorders.

reintegration and aftercare

A person who is abusing quetiapine must reintegrate into society after completing adrug rehabProgram. Someit may take longerreturn to normal life than most, but in general, addiction is a lifelong struggle.

People may benefit from transitional homes or a life coach. Some are able to complete their transition to sober living faster than most. It is essential that the patient follow the recommendations of a professional to reduce the probability of regression.

Use quetiapine safely

Although it is not currently classified as a controlled substance, the availability and use of quetiapine should be further restricted due to its potential for abuse. the antipsychoticshould only be used as directed by a physicianand as prescribed. This reduces the chance of becoming dependent on the drug and then developing a dependency on the drug.

Feeling like there are more side effects than benefits, or experiencing too manyWeight gain with Seroquelyou should see a doctor immediately. A healthcare professional can determine if this treatment is appropriate and can change the medication.

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secondary sources

  1. Brett, J. (2015). Concerns about quetiapine. Australian Prescriber, 38(3), 95. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4653966/
  2. Leucht, S., Cipriani, A., Spineli, L., Mavridis, D., Örey, D., Richter, F., ... & Davis, J.M. (2013). Comparative efficacy and tolerability of 15 antipsychotic drugs in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of multiple treatments. The Lancet, 382 (9896), 951-962. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23810019
  3. Cha, H.J., Lee, HA, Ahn, J.I., Jeon, S.H., Kim, E.J. and Jeong, H.S. (2013). Quetiapine addiction potential: behavioral pharmacology in rodents. Biomolecules and Therapeutics, 21(4), 307. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819904/
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Abuse Warning Network: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, 2011, https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files /DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED.htm
  5. Sansone, RA & Sansone, LA (2010). Is Seroquel developing a reputation for illegal abuse/abuse? Psychiatry (Edgmont), 7(1), 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848462/
  6. Daly, EJ and Trivedi, MH. (2007). A review of quetiapine in combination with antidepressant therapy in people with depression. Neuropsychiatric Illness and Treatment, 3(6), 855. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656328/
  7. Maneeton N, Maneeton B, Woottiluk P, Likhitsathian S, Suttajit S, Boonyanaruthee V, and Srisurapanont M (2016). Quetiapine monotherapy in the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Drug Design, Development, and Therapy, 10, 259. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4716733/
  8. Bandelow B, Chouinard G, Bobes J, Ahokas A, Eggens I, Liu S, and Eriksson H (2010). Extended-release quetiapine fumarate (quetiapine XR): an effective once-daily monotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Data from an active randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 13(3), 305-320. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19691907/
  9. Cha, H.J., Lee, HA, Ahn, J.I., Jeon, S.H., Kim, E.J. and Jeong, H.S. (2013). Quetiapine addiction potential: behavioral pharmacology in rodents. Biomolecules and Therapeutics, 21(4), 307. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819904/

Release: February 19, 2020

Updated: July 6, 2021

What is Seroquel? Applications, abuse potential and more (5)

(Video) My Manic Life - Episode 23 (Snorting Seroquel and things out of my control)

About the Author

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed has a degree in Medicine and Surgery and graduated from the University of Alexandria. Dr. Ahmed Zayed is passionate about writing medical and health related articles and focuses on providing engaging and authoritative information to readers.

What is Seroquel? Applications, abuse potential and more (6)

Clinically reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in a variety of behavioral and complementary settings, including inpatient and outpatient mental health services for adults with substance use disorders, as well as geriatric care and long-term hospice care. She has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving specific vitamins, nutritional supplements, and the use of auricular acupuncture.


Does quetiapine have abuse potential? ›

Quetiapine abuse is relatively common, and is abused far more often than any other second-generation antipsychotic. Emergency physicians should be aware of the clinical effects that may occur after second-generation antipsychotic abuse.

What are the risks of taking Seroquel? ›

Common side effects
  • Feeling sleepy during the day. Do not drive, cycle or use tools or machinery. ...
  • Problems with your movement. ...
  • Headache. ...
  • Feeling dizzy. ...
  • Putting on weight or changes to your appetite. ...
  • Constipation. ...
  • Swollen breasts, pain in your breasts or leaking breast milk. ...
  • Irregular periods or stopped periods.

Does quetiapine cause hypersexuality? ›

However, researchers have reported hypersexuality occurring in association with antipsychotic medication intake, in patients taking quetiapine5 or aripiprazole.

How much do Seroquel go for on the street? ›

Street names for quetiapine include “quell,” “Susie-Q,” and “baby heroin,” and “Q-ball” refers to a combination of cocaine and quetiapine. Quetiapine tablets have a street value of $3 to $8 for doses ranging from 25 mg to 100 mg.

Is quetiapine habit forming? ›

Though quetiapine is not a controlled substance and is not considered addictive, its drug dependence potential has been described in several case reports (Pinta, 2007).

Why do prisoners take Seroquel? ›

Seroquel is the market name for the antipsychotic drug Quetiapine, whose manufacturers claim appropriate for treating schizophrenia and the manic episodes in bipolar disorder. However, prison doctors and psychiatrists frequently prescribe Seroquel to prisoners because its most common side effect is sedation.

Is quetiapine a psychoactive drug? ›

Quetiapine is a psychotropic agent used for the management of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. Initially approved by the FDA in 1997, quetiapine is a second-generation atypical antipsychotic used in schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder.

What happens if you have too much quetiapine? ›

Since approvement several case reports about intoxication with quetiapine were linked mainly with tachycardia, -prolongation, somnolence, and hyperglycemia.


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