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Seroquel Tapering

Seroquel Tapering

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Medical Review Icon

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Diane Ridaeus
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

This atypical antipsychotic drug carries not one, but TWO “black box” warnings due to its extremely dangerous side effects. It is imperative that anyone seeking to get off this drug seek professionally managed Seroquel tapering help.

Even if the drug was prescribed during a time of extreme crisis, that does not necessarily mean that a person is destined to remain medicated for life. We KNOW there are effective alternatives.

Does Your Diagnosis
Require Seroquel?

successful seroquel tapering
Alternative to Meds has been the expert on antipsychotic withdrawal for over 15 years. We have published evidence regarding our clients’ resounding success. Clearly, there are many non-toxic methods to reduce or eliminate symptoms that don’t require toxic drugs at all. A hasty diagnosis from years ago may not be pertinent today even if it was correct back then. A fresh look, using testing and assessments can reveal what needs to be done for improvements today.

What Is Seroquel Used For?

There are numerous reasons one may be prescribed an antipsychotic that include psychosis, schizophrenia, hallucination, mania, and bipolar maintenance. Statistics show rising numbers of “off-label” uses of Seroquel. However, the manufacturer of the drug has paid over $11 billion in fines because of misleading advertising, leading to thousands of prescriptions being written for the off-label treatment of insomnia, so hopefully, this is on the decline.1

Yet surprisingly, Seroquel, or the generic quetiapine, has consistently come up as the one antipsychotic medication most often linked to abuse and street-presence when compared to all other antipsychotics.2 Why this is, is not immediately evident but the fact remains that the mind-altering effects of Seroquel have contributed to this scenario, along with perhaps the fact that the drug is listed as a non-controlled substance, potentially making it easier to procure in non-prescribed settings. In either case, once drug dependence has developed, Alternative to Meds Center knows that tapering from Seroquel can be difficult and arduous, and needs proper medical care and oversight for success.

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Seroquel and Serotonin 

serotonin deficiencySeroquel, as the name might suggest, quells or more correctly blocks serotonin from the nerve pathways, which is thought to explain the drug’s ability to quieten moods, emotions, and sensitivity to stimulation in the environment. On the street, Seroquel has earned the name “baby heroin” which seems to reflect such characteristics and can be purchased cheaply, for instance, under $10 per pill. The drug is also thought to similarly dampen other natural neurotransmitters to varying degrees including dopamine, adrenaline, and histamine. The drug is thought to have a marked effect on these normally stimulant-respondent receptors, which results in its powerful sedative effect. However, when compared to other antipsychotic drugs, there are fewer reports of drowsiness connected with Seroquel than with other drugs in its class. In the treatment of psychosis where hallucinations or mania are present, Seroquel can be effective as a dampener of these unwanted symptoms, at least for a time.

Tapering and Seroquel Dependence

Like any substance taken regularly or often enough to affect or disrupt natural neurochemistry, the body has the capacity to adapt to and overcome the presence and action of the drug. This is called tolerance. When tolerance develops, it is at this point that withdrawal or missing a dose will produce reactions that can be severe enough to create an intense drive to procure more of the drug to avoid the withdrawals. This is not pleasure-seeking behavior so much as it is the downward spiral where dependence and addiction seem to eventually merge. When Seroquel is taken for an extended period of time, developing dependence makes the drug less able to produce the effects that it did earlier. The body’s own built-in defense mechanisms are responsible for this outcome. It is not that the drug “stops working” so much as the body begins to work very hard to overcome the intrusion. 4

antipsychotic addictionHowever, this drug-resistance becomes a contributing driver of continuing dependence and addiction. When a person takes an antipsychotic medication for an extended period of time, the balance of desiring to quell symptoms but remain free of addiction can become overturned as the drug’s efficacy begins to decline. Now there can result in an untenable situation where taking the drug can no longer quell undesired symptoms adequately, yet not taking the drug produces uncomfortable withdrawals such as nausea, inability to sleep, headache, irritability, other mood changes, dizziness, and others. The most usual responses to this scenario are to up the dosage or switch to a different medication or take additional drugs to try to neutralize emerging negative side effects. In most cases, the decision to begin a safe program of Seroquel tapering may be a wiser choice.

Can Problems With Seroquel Tapering Be Avoided?

The drug manufacturer states that gradual withdrawal of Seroquel is recommended over abruptly stopping Seroquel.3 This is not unlike general recommendations given for stopping most other medications safely. Unfortunately, no specific guidelines are given by either the drug maker or the FDA concerning how to accomplish safe and comfortably managed tapering from Seroquel. Most physicians, unfortunately, have never received any training whatsoever that could be used to help a person who wants to come off antipsychotic medication. 5

Comprehensive Testing and Treatment Protocols

seroquel tapering helpThe professionals at Alternative to Meds Center have developed and refined a set of protocols applied to Seroquel tapering that can markedly reduce the pain and suffering of trying to come off Seroquel and similar drugs.
We are always available to speak to you or a loved one for more information on the protocols used, the health advantages of holistic treatment, and questions you may have concerning insurance coverage and a wealth of other practical and helpful information concerning our inpatient treatment for Seroquel tapering.

1. Nutt, Keating “Popular drug Seroquel first meant for Schizophrenia reveals issues of ‘off-label’ abuse” Washington Post article, 2018 Mar 30 [cited 2020 Dec 10]

2. Sansone R MD, Sansone L MD “Is Seroquel Developing an Illicit Reputation for Misuse/Abuse?” published 2010, National US Library of Medicine [cited 2020 Dec 10]

3. Consumer Info sheet published by Seroquel drug maker AstraZeneca last updated 2019 Dec 16 [cited 2020 Dec 10]

4. Merk Manual, “Tolerance and Resistance to Drugs.” Lynch S, 2019 Aug [cited 2020 Dec 10]

5. Wood E, et al., “Physician Education in Addiction Medicine.” JAMA. 2013 Oct 23. 310(16): 1673-1674. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.280377 PMID 24150462 [cited 2020 Dec 10]

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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