Goodbye Quetiapine: 400mg to 300mg

275mg

Since I originally started this blog to document my withdrawal from Quetiapine, I thought it would be a good idea to let you know what I have experienced so far.

If you haven’t already, it may be helpful to read my first post about the driving forces behind my drug withdrawal.

I want to emphasise that the withdrawal of 100mg of Quetiapine took me seven months. I was incredibly cautious, sometimes reducing the dose weekly, at other times every second week and sometimes taking even longer. I held it constant over stressful periods (like exams), and I postponed a scheduled withdrawal if I noticed any possible early warning signs. I also did not do things that would threaten the stability of my mood (e.g., drinking alcohol, staying up late).

Without further adieu, these are the effects I noticed on the way down from 400 to 300mg.

The Negative

Muscle Spasms/Twitching

The driving forces behind the decision to reduce, and hopefully, completely remove Quetipaine from my life. These babies only intensified as the drug withdrawal continued. Typically, the day after the withdrawal the twitches and spasms would become worse, and this could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Spasms and twitches occurred pretty much everywhere in my body. The sensation was sometimes a buzzing, followed by muscle contraction. Spasms and twitches were repetitive, occurring in a muscle multiple times in a row, and then subsiding. Leg jerking was not an uncommon occurrence.

At one point the spasms occurring in my right thigh muscle were accompanied by a sharp stabbing pain too.

These spasms and twitches are still continuing, but to a much lesser degree.

Trouble Sleeping

On the night of the withdrawal, I found it took longer for the drug to kick in, sometimes up to two hours. This would occur for up to two weeks.

Fatigue

I found I was very fatigued the morning after each reduction. This usually cleared within two days.

Subtle Mood Changes

Hardly noticeable from 400-300mg were the subtle changes in my mood that would occur following the night I withdrew the medication. They were hardly noticeable to me, but noticeable to my parents. These mood changes resolved within 2 to 3 days.

The Positive

I Can Crap!

One of the side effects of Quetiapine is constipation. I’ve been on this drug for almost four years. During that entire time, I suffered from a huge number of difficulties with my digestive system that I had never experienced prior to taking the drug. One of those symptoms was constipation. It was unrelenting, uncomfortable, and unattractive. The less I crapped, the larger my abdomen became. Gross.

At 375mg, I could crap. I crapped everyday for weeks. It was one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had.

I was free!

Unfortunately, now my body has stabilised on 275mg, I am back to frequent constipation again…

I’m Alive!

Almost immediately following the first reduction I realised how sedated I had really been. I could move again. I could think again. I was me again! Being on 400mg was like trying to run underwater; difficult, frustrating and hard to do. Only, I wasn’t aware of this fact until I removed some of those milligrams.

My energy, enthusiasm and happiness returned. I hadn’t realised it before, but I was flat, devoid of much of anything, just going through the motions and thinking all was okay. But it wasn’t. I was heavy, slow and struggled through the daily grind. It felt good to feel light, happiness and emotional again.

I Can’t Hear my Heart Beat!

Maybe hearing your own heart beat doesn’t sound so bad, but I can assure you it is. On 400mg, after the drug had kicked in, my heart would routinely beat so loudly my chest would shake. I felt like I was going to explode. It was terrifying. Thankfully, that symptom has almost entirely disappeared. The episodes of audible heart-beating have only occurred a couple of times, and are tame in comparison.

Concentration!

My ability to concentrate improved dramatically as I reduced the dose.

My Memory!

It’s no surprise that being sedated 24 hours a day, and lacking concentration has an effect on one’s memory. With each reduction on the way down to 300mg, my memory improved.

I Can Dream Again!

I read somewhere that sedatives suppress REM sleep. It makes sense because before Quetiapine I was a vivid dreamer. And when I say vivid, I mean really vivid. I would have multiple dreams per night, and be able to remember them in great detail. On 400mg, I didn’t have any. As I withdrew down to 300mg, my dreams appeared again. They were there, but not as clear and memorable as in the past. But at least they were coming back!

Muscle Tone!

My muscles were tight on Quetiapine; fairly soon after the withdrawal began my muscles started to loosen up, and I found it easier to increase my muscle tone.

At the 300mg mark, the withdrawal symptoms were minor, and the positive effects of being on less medication outweighed the brief  withdrawal symptoms I was experiencing.

I felt light, happy, and safe.

But could that continue? Not exactly…

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26 thoughts on “Goodbye Quetiapine: 400mg to 300mg

  1. I have only recently been put on Quetiapine and already have all the horrible side effects you describe, especially the constipation! Thank you for writing this, its nice to have a personal view on the drugs, instead of drs and data sheets! Good luck with the rest of your journey.

    • Thank you 🙂 Glad I could be of some help. Movicol is the most effective laxative I have come across and has given me great relief – be sure to mention the side effects to your Dr as they may be able to help. Stick with it and please remember coming on and off meds does more damage than staying on them consistently. Good luck!

    • Thank you. I wouldn’t pretend to be a medical doctor. And I certainly don’t advocate for other people to reduce their medication. Unfortunately, there is no protocol for reducing psychiatric medications available. There is basically no information on what to expect, and most doctors reduce psychiatric drugs at an incredibly fast rate – something I wouldn’t ever consider doing unless it was absolutely essential. My own psychiatrist suggested I reduce by 25mg per time. Totally ridiculous. I’d be a mess from all the withdrawal effects.

  2. I have been on various antipsychotic medication since last year. And I have already tried 3 most so called best drugs. These include olanzapine, risperidone and quetiapine. I just found that these medications, for what they are prescribed for cause the same symptoms, you can actually say it induces symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar or what so ever. These medicines actually induces psychosis for me. What I say is “There is no one else who knows you and your mind better than yourself”. And these things which are labelled as non addictive substance are more addictive than cannabis, cocaine or any other natural occurring drug (except for opium), Whoever see my words I would suggest even if your on a tranquilizer just try get off it. It doesn’t improve your quality of life like the mental health care professional say rather it destroys your life. It takes way almost everything u wanted in your life. These drugs made fail in exam, took way my happiness, I could not walk, I could not even laugh. Its just living hell. Mental illness comes from the environment your in. Try to make a self diagnosis of your self. And don’t ever have an insurance that supports mental health issues. Am I sorry to say this but this is truth. Doctors who are supposed to save our lives murders u and even gets away with it, I could keep typing all the shit I went through. But its not worth the time as I cant change anything in my life. Anyways Thanks for u post. Liked it

  3. I sadly agree on the post above. I am on quetiapine, and on top of that i have to take other 5 meds to just to fight quetiapine side effects. Tegretol so i dont need to sleep walk to the fridge every our during the night, alprazolam for the heartache, welbutrin so i feel awake during the day, hesperidine for the heavyness on the legs, fiber to stimulate intestines… on and on and on… Doctor sais i have gotten better from my mental illnes (6 years) is true i have more control the way i speak and the way i express myself overall; but what a price to pay…

  4. Most people who take over 100mg of this drug are stupid.
    The side effects are so awful you need to watch how you
    use it!

    I have never allowed my body to ‘get used’ to that dose and
    that is why I treat mania with only 25mg. I do not
    take it all the time. I do not have, or wish to have diabetes!

    I watch my moods and then act with the smallest amount.

  5. Pingback: The tipping point | purplepersuasion

  6. Few of the symptoms you report comport with reported pre- or post-marketing reports or vast anectodal experience from patients and clinicians experienced with prescribing quetiapine. I’m a health care provider with no financial relationship with this or any other pharmaceutical. It is by no means a perfect drug–none are. But many of the symptoms you reported only temporarily improved while discontinuing the drug, and some of the improvements could be explainable by the emergence of hypomania from discontinuing your therapy. Bipolar disease is not a temporary condition, and it is difficult to determine what symptoms are related to treatment versus the disease itself.

    Your post reads like an endorsement for people to stop taking their medications. Bipolar disease can have devastating consequences, and people should discuss their experience with pharmacotherapy with their providers, or get a second opinion if unsatisfied. You are the least reliable of references, because discontinuation of your medication can lead to psychiatric instability, which you would likely have no insight in recognizing.

    This is a plea for readers to avoid doing your own subjective research about your health conditions without the feedback from clinicians who have vast experience in treating these conditions. When you browse the Internet from a place of fear or anxiety driving your research question, you are not objective–you will select the information that confirms your worst fear about your disease or about the drug that treats it. And you have no idea of the reliability of your source–as this person’s post exemplifies. You have no idea the context of his experience–what other medications he was taking at the time, the status of his disease, or his comorbid conditions.

    It’s also important to recognize that a significant number of bipolar individuals enjoy being manic–it feels great, for awhile. Stopping your medications without the advice of your doctor isn’t the answer. Hopefully this author hasn’t unintentially done something he regrets since he posted this piece–and I hope no one has experienced harm from copying his actions.

    • Excuse me but he is a she and if as a health practitioner you can’t figure that out your oppinion doesn’t hold much weight. SHE has a psychiatrist!

    • I worked in mental health I witnessed many patients not only reporting memory loss but also an absence of cognitive consequences due to memory impairments and my personal and professional observation is that people on higher doses are not only spaced out but getting worse not better ; as a patient i told the psychiatrist so many times that I was sleeping too much sometimes all day on a weekend and had memory problems stopping work. Diagnosis is not objective as we all know not even the experts don’t agree one doctor will say you have bi polar while a second concludes schizophrenia you see this in courts reports not only do syndromes overlap with each other the DSM is also not fixed over time; also it is not uncommon for the same patient to be given a different combination of drug therapy, the drug companies can say seroquel is safe for now it’s very possible in 20 years time that seroquel could be found to create memory problems as other psych drugs were taken off the market after serious side effects became evident; as for me high dose seroquel 800 mg created memory problems and a lack of insight into negative consequences the withdraw is worse than any drug that I have taken the headaches ; lack of sleep for the first after 10 nights reducing 800 to 400 mg s of seroquel my memory is improved my concentration is so good that I am able to start writing again for a work project that was previously impossible & dont abuse my partner ; I was diagnosed with bi polar and since reducing seroquel I don’t have hyper mania at all rather a sense of calm; seroquel withdraw is so bad many will be unable to come off while others may need hospitalisation…(and the medical professionals will not likely to support you at all as they are brain washed)…
      The only way to get off now is stabilising on my current dose then reduce slowly…
      As the author of this post points out concentration is also improved…
      It is also not uncommon for people to sue drug companies in regard to a variety of psychiatric medication just do an internet search…

  7. I’ve been on 600mg per day of Quetiapine for a few years now, my memory is trashed and I’ve gained a bunch of weight, my doc recently decided to reduce it down to 400mg a day (straight from 600mg to 400mg, no gentle decrease), I’ve had constipation too but since I’ve decreased to 400mg, I’m having the opposite problem, I don’t know if it’s a rebound symptom or what, but it’s really terrible.

  8. Thank you for all your comments, it has helped me identify what I am going through.
    I’ve been on 200mg of seroquel for several years. They started me on 400mg but I gradually reduced it to the minimum requirement years ago. I did try and come off it three times but went into psychosis…something I never experienced before starting Seroquel.
    I have come to the conclusion that it is best I take 200mg to keep me sane. Over the years I have picked up 6kg..not too much as fortunately I was underweight before. I do find my metabolism has slowed down considerably and of course if I don’t keep it in check, I may end up with diabetic.
    This week I thought I should loose a few kilos and speed up my metabolism. I started drinking lots of green tea and lemon water and eating a healthy no-carb, lean protein and lost of veg and raw salads.
    In three days I started having more energy, my metabolism is working wonders but….
    Last night I could not sleep, muscle twitches and little shocks going through my legs, hands and face. I felt very anxious and weird and obviously worried and started researching and also found this blog. Thanks it has helped.
    Basically red wine, green tea, beer and lemon water are all antioxidants and expel toxins. Seroquel/quetiapine is a toxin so mixed with a antioxidants it decreased is bioavailability, so it basically does not let your body process seroquel as it should so you end up going through withdrawal.
    If it wasn’t for this blog I would not have know I am going through withdrawal due to the antioxidants, so thank you again for posting.
    I hope this helps others understand that too many antioxidants can affect your medications effectiveness.
    So I will get rid of the green tea, wine, beer and lemon juice, for now, and stick to a healthy diet and exercise to boost my metabolism while taking the minimum dose required to stay healthy and strong.

  9. I have been on Seroquel since 1998. 100 MG’s in the AM, 200 at night. Although it has had a lot of positive effect on treating my depression and anxiety, the side effects have become extremely rough through the years. My goal is to get down to 100 MG’s at night, but is is crystal clear to me that I have to take it slow. I stopped the medicine in 2003 , and I became psychotic for the 1st time in my life. It was horrible. I became so paranoid, I had to be hospitalized again. Thank god I was able to stabilize again, and have been relatively successful in my treatment since… but with a multitude of increasing side effects, including raised sugar levels, terrible gastrointestinal issues, and too many more to list. I have a stressful job, and the normal stress that comes with life, but I feel I need to wean down. I can’t handle the increasing health issues from being on this dose for so long. I’m currently taking antibiotics for a sinus infection, (also a chronic issue related to the seroquel) but when I’m better, (next week or two) I am going to try and just take 175 MG’s at night, every other night, and see how that affects me. I’m realistically looking at 6 months as a “suggested” target for me to be down 100 MG’s. I will refer back to this blog, and share my experience. Be well, all.

  10. hi guys 🙂 i was diagnosed Bipolar One as a teen, and after trying almost every med (lithium, abilify, zoloft,gabapentin, and a bunch more I cant remember) I gave up. All of these gave me Crazy side effects, and made me feel like i was either a different person entirely or just a drooler on the couch. A few months ago I thought I could try again, maybe medicines have improved etc. I was given Seraquil to take at night before bed, which I thought made sense because every othet pill made me tired so why not take it at night.
    The first 2 days were AWESOME. I mean i was a little pale, but my brain slowed down and that never happens, so I was excited.Sounds were different, the quiet sounded different too.
    Day three man. Woke up covered in sweat, crying because every muscle in my body was tight. Like the kind of tight that us girls use tokeep our asses in place.I got up and went downstairs and my fiance looked terrified- the right side of my face was drawn down and twitching. AWESOME
    So I go to ER and they give me a shot of cogentin (totally helps muscles), and i left with scripts for cogentin in pill form and xanax to calm it all down i assume. Never took the xanax. Now im completely terrified of mental health “medicine. ”
    So i obviously was advised to stop the seraquil. I havent taken any in 5 days – mind u i only took 3 75 mg so thats not alot. My sypmtoms are insane from such a small dosage. My muscles are still killing me and makes everything hard to do- surprise! We use our legs a LOT. But my face isnt as drawn down and i have color in my cheeks. Forgot to mention i hadnt eaten the entire time on it. – IM ITALIAN, i eat all the time i love food. I was forcing half a protein bar everyday. What a fucking joke.
    Ok so now im chillin with the driest mouth ever (cogentin side effect hah) and i cannot WAIT until my muscles are normal and my eye stops twitching.
    SO. No more medicine for me. Holy crap.

  11. I was googling to find out how much quetiapine it would take to end my life. I found this blog. I’ve been taking 75mg of quetiapine each night for years since my son died. I’m just not coping. I just realised how reidiculoud that sounded. I hope the doctor can help me

  12. Quatrain really helped when I was first diagnosed emotionally unstable bpd
    I was put on 300mg xl at night
    I tried to reduce a while ago to 225mg and did so for a month
    In that time I had migraines and my ibs flared, it was so bad I could not continue
    So went back to 300mg
    I know it has zapped the life out of my mind and body
    I don’t want to take it any more

  13. Hi
    I have been on quetiapine for over 6 years. Was on 600, but got it down to 400, I now want to get it even lower. I feel tired and sluggish all the time. I have 4 kids to look after, and it’s hard trying to have the energy to do things. When I first started the meds, they were a God send to me, as i was psychotic!!
    But now I feel they run my life, I want to run my own life, sick of being on these meds, but worried my symptoms will return if I reduce it too much, can’t win 😦

  14. Hi there,

    I write with just a couple of concerns about quetiapine which I hope you can help me to answer based on your own experience.

    I was on 150mg Seroquel XR for about 2.5 months before deciding to come off it due to it not really helping much.

    In the last 2 weeks, I have titrated down from 150mg to 100mg and then to 50mg, which I have been on for about 4 days.

    I’ve noticed a couple of things which I’m not sure whether to be worried about:

    1) Sleep. I sleep around 4 hours before waking up in the dead of night. I then spend the next few hours – before I wake up – having ‘disturbed’ sleep, whereby I’ll fall asleep and wake up frequently. This has happened for a couple of weeks. Will this subside?

    2) Twitching/muscle spasm. My left eyelid twitches all throughout the day! It’s like something is tugging at it; it’s probably not publicly visible but it’s very irritating. I sometimes get other little spasms on my hand, finger, foot, etc. but that’s on and off. Having read about extra-pyramidal symptoms, some of which can be permanent, it’s safe to say I’m more than a little worried. How likely is it that these spasms/twitches will go? (I plan to stop the 50mg completely as well in the next week or two). How long could it typically take? I’d hate to be permanently affected by quetiapine; possibly unlikely due to my dose and duration, but I wanted to reach out and ask.

    On a tangent, do you know the efficacy of systems like reiki to help with either of the two above-mentioned symptoms? Or even in helping anxiety/depression in general?

    Many thanks!

    • Hi AB,
      1) Sleep – I have been tapering off Seroquel for three weeks and really similar problems with my sleep. I seem to fall asleep fine (around 12am) but by 3:30am or so am waking up at least every 20 minutes. I don’t know if this is the case for you but I actually am too wide-awake by about 5:00am to fall back asleep, so just getting a very early start to the day.
      2) Twitches – a lot of people are talking about spasms coming off of Seroquel, but mine were actually just as worse while I was taking it regularly. I use a foam roller to massage my legs, which helps.
      Finally – and I don’t know how well received this will be – but smoking a small joint at bedtime has helped relax my muscles as well as fall asleep.
      Best of luck,
      S

      • What works for me is 200 mg of Seroquel at night and when paranoid / fixated on something negative and cannot let go take 25 mg table up to 2-3 times per day.
        In my case going off did not work this forum however has helped to reduce Seroquel significantly and also us sodium Valporate (main drug to control epilepsy by essentially reducing abnormal beta brain waves ) the problem here is that the high s are gone but the lows are low, this has been fixed by a new expensive antidepressant Valdoxan (does not have sexual side effects – that’s why a lot of people go off SSRIs)
        Back to Seroquel
        I note you smoke pot at night I have seen a lot of good 😊 data about the benefits of cannabis that the drug companies don’t want you to know about…
        All the best
        Again in my case I could not get off Seroquel as my bi Polar is chronic.

  15. I was on 400 mg of quetiapine a day. The only time it bugged me real bad was when i first took it. I recently just went down to 150mg. The only symtom ive had is really bad constipation. I also take other meds ,sleeping meds and anti depressants. Havent had any withdrawls

  16. To AB
    My research into tardive diskinesia leads me to believe that this is not what is causing your eye twitch. You are on a low dose, for a short period of time. I would see whether your doctor would consider a brief course of Valium while you reduce the seroquel to a more helpful level

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