As compared to other antipsychotic medications, Seroquel is relatively safe in terms of potential for overdose, according to a report published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. The researchers cite a case study in which one woman attempted suicide with a 1400 milligram dose of Seroquel. She experienced extreme drowsiness and irregular heartbeat, but after gastric lavage, an anxiolytic via IV, and 14 hours of medical supervision, she was released.
Cases of Seroquel overdose do not always end so positively, however. Though some who struggle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may purposefully attempt to commit suicide by overdosing on their medication, many may accidentally take too much of the drug by mixing up their dosing schedules or taking the wrong pills at the wrong time.
Signs of a Seroquel overdose may include:
- Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- Extreme drowsiness
- Drop in blood potassium levels
- Drop in blood pressure
Additionally, high-dose or overdose of Seroquel can result in the development of a serious movement disorder characterized by tremors and/or uncontrollable muscle movements. This disorder may not be reversible.
Depending on the symptoms experienced, Seroquel overdose may include treatment with IV medications to address the different medical issues followed by medical monitoring as appropriate.
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Regular Seroquel use for an extended period of time may lead to a physical dependence on the drug. Should it be determined that use of the medication is no longer the best choice for treatment, cessation of use should be monitored by a physician. Abruptly stopping ingestion of Seroquel when there is physical dependence can trigger withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms will vary depending on the dosage amount, how long the person has been taking the drug, the other medications in current use and/or being stopped at the same time, and the symptoms experienced due to the underlying mental health disorder being treated.
The timeline along which the symptoms of Seroquel withdrawal will develop will also vary significantly from person to person based on the same issues that impact the type of withdrawal symptoms experienced. For example, some may experience minimal withdrawal symptoms for a week or two after they stop taking a low dose of Seroquel. With higher doses, on the other hand, it is more common to experience withdrawal symptoms more intensely and for longer periods of time; onset of symptoms may be more rapid and peak more quickly as well. Many report beginning to experience issues such as stomach cramping and headaches soon after they miss their first dose, with symptoms intensifying over the next few days, and eventually peaking and plateauing for a week or more. Though the length of time spent in Seroquel detox will vary, in general, the higher the dose, the longer the symptoms will continue – with symptoms slowly fading over time.
It is important to note that any experience of psychosis, medical emergency, and/or suicidal thoughts or behaviors must be treated immediately. Thus, it is recommended that those who undergo withdrawal from Seroquel be under the care and supervision of a medical professional if not actively enrolled in an inpatient drug addiction treatment program.