Quetiapine (Seroquel)  

Learn about quetiapine and its usage to treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders.


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What Is Quetiapine?

In the United States, about one in six people take psychiatric medication. Also known as psychotropic medications, these drugs treat psychiatric conditions. For mental health disorders like schizophrenia, doctors face the challenge of balancing the effectiveness of a psychotropic medication against its side effects.

For example, the first generation of medications for schizophrenia is known for causing significant side effects. It wasn’t until the discovery of second-generation schizophrenia medications, such as quetiapine, that medical professionals could treat patients’ symptoms with a lower risk of side effects.1

A graphic of a bottle of Quetiapine (Seroquel) with text describing the dosage daily dosage requirements for adults

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder marked by disruptions in emotional responses, thought processing, and social interactions. A common symptom of schizophrenia is hearing or seeing hallucinations. The disease is persistent and can cause severe interference with a person’s daily activities and quality of life. Therefore, finding safe and effective treatments for schizophrenia has been a major goal for psychiatry for the past fifty years.

The Impact of Schizophrenia

Worldwide, schizophrenia is one of the top fifteen leading causes of disabilities. Within the U.S., about 0.25% to 0.64% of the population are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Although the estimated number of people diagnosed with schizophrenia is less than 1%, the disorder impacts society in striking ways.2

In addition, individuals affected with schizophrenia have a higher risk of premature death than the general population, with a life reduction of twenty-eight and a half years. Tragically, about 4.9% of people with schizophrenia die through suicide.2

Drugs used to treat schizophrenia are called antipsychotics. The earlier drugs, called typical antipsychotics, effectively treated schizophrenia; however, these medications came with severe side effects, including tardive dyskinesia and Parkinsonism. Drugs used for schizophrenia that was discovered later are called atypical antipsychotics—one of which is quetiapine.

Drug Class and Schedule

According to the FDA, quetiapine is a psychotropic medication classified under the class of dibenzothiazepine derivatives. Its full name is quetiapine fumarate, and the brand name it’s sold under is Seroquel.

Quetiapine is currently not a controlled substance. Although primarily used for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Seroquel is also prescribed for many off-label uses. Prescribed medications are considered “off-label” when the prescriber issues a medication out for reasons other than those recognized by the FDA.3

The following are the most common off-label uses for Seroquel:4

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Depression

What Is the Dosage for Quetiapine?

Seroquel dosages depend on a set of variables, including the client’s age, what the drug is used for, whether the drug formulation is immediate or extended-release, and the client’s condition. For example, Seroquel for sleep may require a lower dose than for the treatment of severe schizophrenia. Generally, Seroquel treatments begin at small dosages and are titrated upwards as tolerated. The general doses and schedules for quetiapine are:5

Adult Seroquel Dosage

  • First Day: 50mg daily by mouth every twelve hours.
  • Second and Third Day: Dose can be increased every day in increments of 25 mg to 50 mg every eight to twelve hours.
  • Fourth Day: Dose can be increased to 30 mg to 40 mg daily.
  • After Fourth Day: Adjust as needed in increments of 25 mg to 50 mg every twelve hours. Each increase should be in intervals of more than two days.

Target Dosage Range: 150 mg to 750 mg daily.

Geriatric Seroquel Dosage

  • Starting Dose for Immediate Release: Dosage begins at 50 mg to 200 mg by mouth and may be increased by 25 mg to 50 mg every day.
  • Starting Dose for Extended-Release: Dosage begins at 50 mg by mouth every day and can be increased by 50 mg every day.

Pediatric Seroquel Dosage

Although utilized for children over twelve years, safe dosages have not yet been determined for younger children.

The immediate-release version of Seroquel for over twelve years of age is:

  • First Day: 50 mg daily by mouth, taken every twelve hours.
  • Second Day: 100 mg daily by mouth, taken every twelve hours.
  • Third Day: 200 mg daily by mouth, taken every twelve hours.
  • Fourth Day: 300 mg daily by mouth, taken every twelve hours.
  • Fifth Day: 400 mg daily by mouth, taken every twelve hours.

Further changes can be made as tolerated in increments of ≤100 mg each day.

Target Dose Range: 400 mg to 800 mg each day.

The extended-release version of Seroquel for children over twelve years of age is:

  • First Day: 50 mg by mouth every day.
  • Second Day: 100 mg by mouth every day.
  • Third Day: 200 mg by mouth every day.
  • Fourth Day: 300 mg by mouth every day.
  • Fifth Day: 400 mg by mouth every day.

Further changes can be made as tolerated in increments of ≤100 mg each day.

A graphic describing the potential side effects of Quetiapine when combined with other medications

Quetiapine Side Effects

Although quetiapine has fewer side effects than its predecessors, it’s not without its limitations. Quetiapine side effects are not as disabling as the typical antipsychotics, but they can still interfere with daily life. The following are the common short-term and long-term side effects of Seroquel:6

Short-Term Seroquel Side Effects

  • Vomiting
  • Stuffy nose or congestion
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Joint pain
  • An increase in appetite
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Gas or bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of coordination
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Persistent painful erection

Long-Term Seroquel Side Effects

  • Decrease in sexual libido
  • Irritability
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Temperature regulation problems
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol
  • Cataracts

Can Quetiapine Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Though very rare, Seroquel withdrawal symptoms may occur when the medication is stopped abruptly. Therefore, individuals taking the medication and healthcare providers prescribing it should be aware of the possible uncomfortable Seroquel withdrawal symptoms. Thus, discontinuing the medication may require a slow titration off the medication, minimizing the chances for Seroquel withdrawal to occur.7

Other Factors to Consider

Seroquel contains a Black Box warning from the FDA regarding using the medication to treat dementia in the elderly. Note that this same Black Box warning exists with other atypical psychotropic medications, as they may increase the chance of death. An increase in suicidal thoughts may occur in children and adults using quetiapine.

Another factor to consider is a Seroquel overdose. Though rare, it’s possible. An individual with a Seroquel overdose may become unconscious or experience severe drowsiness.8

Pros and Cons of Seroquel Use

Every medication has its pros and cons, and quetiapine is no different. Whether quetiapine is prescribed for schizophrenia, insomnia, or depression, it’s possible for the medication to be effective and still come with side effects. Every person may react differently to the medication, making every situation unique. It’s essential for the person taking the medication to have open and honest conversations with their healthcare provider regarding their treatment.

Seroquel works quickly and effectively, and it’s also well-tolerated in most people. Unlike other psychotropic medications, quetiapine doesn’t require any weekly or monthly laboratory work. Additionally, because dosages are easily titrated up or down, it’s possible to find the appropriate therapeutic level for each individual fairly quickly.

Nevertheless, for some, the side effects may overshadow the effectiveness of the medication. The most common side effect is drowsiness and lethargy, which may interfere with school or work. Typically, the severe side effects of quetiapine like tardive dyskinesia are rare but possible.

What Medications Cannot Be Mixed With Seroquel?

Quetiapine may interfere with the effectiveness of other medications, primarily Parkinson’s disease medications, such as levodopa and ropinirole.

Medications that can increase the levels of quetiapine are:

  • Erythromycin
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Fluconazole

The medications that may reduce quetiapine’s effectiveness are:

  • Carbamazepine
  • Rifampin
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital

In addition, the following medications may increase the risk of heart issues when used along with quetiapine:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Antiarrhythmics (heart rhythm medications)
A graphic that describes the rates of schizophrenia, which is treated by Quetiapine

When to See Your Doctor for Seroquel

Most people who use quetiapine don’t experience severe side effects; however, the following symptoms should be reported to a health professional immediately:8

  • Vision changes
  • Falling
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Persistent painful erection
  • Tardive dyskinesia (uncontrollable movements of limbs, tongue, lips, or face)
  • Fever
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Unusual bruising
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hives or rash

People with schizophrenia or insomnia searching for treatment should speak with their healthcare provider to see if Seroquel medication is the right choice. People may find that an off-label use—like Seroquel for anxiety—might be what they need. If you’re currently on quetiapine treatment and have questions about your medication, speak to your healthcare provider.


We also accept many others insurance plans. verify your benefits with no obligation required.


OR CALL US 24/7: (844) 926-0729


We also accept many others insurance plans. verify your benefits with no obligation required.


OR CALL US 24/7: (844) 926-0729