DESCRIPTION / DEFINITIONS: Seroquel® (quetiapine fumarate) is a atypical antipsychotic. Seroquel is a drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia and the treatment of bipolar depression and mania.

ADDICTION / DEPENDENCE: Half life and metabolism, Black Box Warning.

SIDE EFFECTS: Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia (see list below).

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Nausea, vomiting and insomnia (see list below).

TREATMENT: Medical detoxification.



Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar depression and mania. According to its label, “The mechanism of action of Seroquel, as with other drugs having efficacy in the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is unknown. However, it has been proposed that the efficacy of SEROQUEL in schizophrenia and its mood stabilizing properties in bipolar depression and mania are mediated through a combination of dopamine type 2 (D2) and serotonin type 2 (5HT2) antagonism.”





The biological half life of a substance is the time it takes for a drug to lose half of its pharmacologic activity. This is significant because it affects how soon withdrawal symptoms may appear.

The half life of Seroquel is approximately 5 hours.

Seroquel is mainly metabolized through the P450 pathway in the liver and the enzyme primarily handling the metabolism is CYP3A4.

The CYP enzymes are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, and since many drugs may increase or decrease the activity of various CYP isozymes, this is a major source of adverse drug interactions, since changes in CYP enzyme activity may affect the metabolism and clearance of various drugs. For example, if one drug inhibits the CYP-mediated metabolism of another drug, the second drug may accumulate within the body to toxic levels, possibly causing an overdose.



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that some drugs pose very serious risks and have required these drugs have what is called a black box warning. Zyprexa has a black box warning. Here is the warning.

Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. Analyses of seventeen placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks) in these patients revealed a risk of death in the drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times that seen in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10 week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (eg, heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (eg, pneumonia) in nature. SEROQUEL (quetiapine) is not approved for the treatment of patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis.

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of SEROQUEL or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. SEROQUEL is not approved for use in pediatric patients. (See Warnings: Clinical Worsening and Suicide RiskPrecautions: Information for Patients, and Precautions: Pediatric Use).



The following information is taken from the Seroquel label:

  • abdomen enlarged
  • abdominal pain
  • abnormal dreams
  • abnormal ejaculation
  • abnormal gait
  • abnormal vision
  • abnormality of accommodation
  • acne
  • acute kidney failure
  • aggressiveness
  • agitation
  • akathisia (psychomotor restlessness)
  • alcohol intolerance
  • alkaline phosphatase increased
  • amblyopia
  • amenorrhea
  • amnesia
  • anemia
  • angina pectoris
  • anorexia
  • anxiety
  • apathy
  • aphasia
  • arthralgia
  • arthritis
  • asthenia
  • asthma
  • ataxia
  • atrial fibrillation
  • AV block first degree
  • back pain
  • blepharitis
  • bone pain
  • bradycardia
  • bruxism
  • buccoglossal syndrome
  • bundle branch block
  • catatonic reaction
  • cerebral ischemia
  • cerebrovascular accident
  • chills
  • choreoathetosis
  • confusion
  • congestive heart failure
  • conjunctivitis
  • constipation
  • contact dermatitis
  • cough increased
  • creatinine increased
  • cyanosis
  • cystitis
  • deafness
  • deep thrombophlebitis
  • dehydration
  • delirium
  • delusions
  • depersonalization
  • diabetes mellitus
  • dizziness
  • dry eyes
  • dry mouth
  • dysarthria
  • dyskinesia
  • dysmenorrhea
  • dyspepsia
  • dysphagia
  • dyspnea
  • dysuria
  • ecchymosis
  • eczema
  • emotional lability
  • eosinophilia
  • epistaxis
  • euphoria
  • exfoliative dermatitis
  • eye pain
  • face edema
  • fatigue
  • fecal incontinence
  • female lactation
  • fever
  • flatulence
  • flu syndrome
  • gamma glutamyl transpeptidase increased
  • gastritis
  • gastroenteritis
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • gingivitis
  • glaucoma
  • glossitis
  • glycosuria
  • gout
  • gum hemorrhage
  • gynecomastia
  • hallucinations
  • hand edema
  • headache
  • hematemesis
  • hemiplegia
  • hemolysis
  • hemorrhoids
  • hiccup
  • hostility
  • hyperglycemia
  • hyperkinesia
  • hyperlipemia,
  • hyperprolactinemia
  • hyperthyroidism
  • hypertonia
  • hyperventilation
  • hypochromic anemia
  • hypoglycemia
  • hypokalemia
  • hypomania
  • hypothyroidism
  • impotence
  • impulsivity
  • incoordination
  • increased appetite
  • increased QRS duration
  • increased salivation
  • insomnia
  • intestinal obstruction
  • involuntary movements
  • irregular pulse
  • irritability
  • leg cramps
  • lethargy
  • leucopenia
  • leucorrhea
  • leukocytosis
  • libido decreased
  • libido increased
  • lymphadenopathy
  • maculopapular rash
  • malaise
  • mania
  • manic reaction
  • melena
  • metrorrhagia
  • migraine
  • moniliasis
  • mouth ulceration
  • myasthenia
  • myoclonus
  • nasal congestion
  • neck pain
  • neuralgia
  • neuroleptic malignant syndrome (nms)
  • neutropenia
  • nocturia
  • orchitis
  • orthostatic hypotension
  • pain
  • palpitation
  • pancreatitis
  • panic attacks
  • paranoid reaction
  • pathological fracture
  • pelvic pain
  • peripheral edema
  • pharyngitis
  • photosensitivity reaction
  • pneumonia
  • polyuria
  • postural hypotension
  • pruritus
  • psoriasis
  • psychosis
  • QT interval prolonged
  • rash
  • rectal hemorrhage
  • rhinitis
  • seborrhea
  • sedation
  • seizures
  • SGOT increased
  • SGPT increased
  • skin discoloration
  • skin ulcer
  • somnolence
  • ST abnormality
  • ST elevated
  • stomatitis
  • stupor
  • stuttering
  • subdural hematoma
  • suicide attempt
  • sweating
  • syncope
  • T wave abnormality
  • T wave flattening
  • T wave inversion
  • tachycardia
  • tardive dyskinesia
  • taste perversion
  • thinking abnormal
  • thirst
  • thrombocytopenia
  • thrombophlebitis
  • tinnitus
  • tongue edema
  • tooth caries
  • tremor
  • twitching
  • urinary frequency
  • urinary incontinence
  • urinary retention
  • vaginal hemorrhage
  • vaginal moniliasis
  • vaginitis
  • vasodilatation
  • vertigo
  • vomiting
  • vulvovaginitis
  • water intoxication
  • weight gain
  • weight loss



Seroquel can be a very difficult drug to stop taking.

  • agitation
  • anorexia
  • anxiety
  • diarrhea
  • emesis (vomiting)
  • insomnia
  • itching
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • rhinorrhoea (runny nose)
  • sweating
  • vomiting



Withdrawal from Seroquel should only be done under the care of a health practitioner. The safest way is to withdraw at an inpatient medical detox facility with a protocol that includes hydration, vitamins and supplements for biological balancing. Call us to talk to a Novus Detox Advisor.