Seroquel Overdose Risks and Withdrawal Timeline
As compared to other antipsychotic medications, Seroquel is relatively safe in terms of overdose, according to a report published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. This means that even if overdose does occur, the risks may not be as high to the patient as they would be in the case of other antipsychotic medications. 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 anxiety medication given via IV, and 14 hours of medical supervision, she was released.1
Cases of Seroquel overdose do not always end so positively, however. A toxic dose of quetiapine may result in symptoms that, when not managed by immediately by medical professionals (as described in the situation above), may put the individual at severe risk.
Signs of a Seroquel overdose may include:2
- Drop in blood pressure
- Drop in blood potassium levels
- Rapid heart rate
- Arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms)
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 be irreversible.2
Immediate emergency medical care is necessary in the case of a Seroquel overdose. Medical providers make sure you have adequate ventilation, administer IV medications as necessary, monitor your heart rhythms, and/or perform gastric lavage (commonly called “stomach pumping”) to remove toxic amounts of the medication from your system.2
Seroquel withdrawal symptoms may include:3
- Nausea and vomiting
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, the withdrawal syndrome may be more severe. Tapering the dose slowly under the care of a physician can alleviate withdrawal distress.4
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.
- Mattoo, S. K., Shah, R., Rajagopal, R., Biswas, P. S., & Singh, S. M. (2009). Quetiapine: Relatively safe in overdose?. Indian journal of psychiatry, 51(2), 139-40.
- AstraZeneca. (2003).
- AstraZeneca UK Limited. (n.d.). SEROQUEL 25 mg film-coated tablets, Patient Leaflet.
- Deborah R. Kim, M.D., Jeffret P. Staab, M.D., M.S. (2005). Letters to the Editor. Am J Psychiatry 162(5).