Two important points need to be made about my blog:
Everything on my blog is my opinion, unless stated otherwise. Because of my background in psychology, my opinions are mostly informed by sound psychological advice and findings. Although I may on occasion support my opinions with relevant research, my opinion is never intended to take precedence over the advice of your doctor. While I will do my best to provide accurate and reliable information I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. I am neither a health professional nor do I have sufficient time to research information as thoroughly as I would like.
Although I say and will say a lot of things that reveal a negative attitude toward drugs. However, I believe drugs have their place. Drugs should be taken directly as prescribed. I am in no way trying to convince others that they should not take medication prescribed by their doctor. If my words raise concerns for you, please discuss those concerns with your doctor.
If you were to ask me what I think you should do about your medication, I would tell you to take your medication as prescribed, and that if you had any concerns to speak to your doctor. If you said your doctor wasn’t sympathetic to your concerns, I would say, get a second opinion, from a medical professional who is qualified to assist you with such decisions, but to keep taking your medication as prescribed until you have done so.
Quetiapine Fumarate, like many drugs used to treat Bipolar Disorder, lead to changes in the way the brain functions. It is because of these changes that the drugs work. However, because these changes have been made, it is impossible to immediately withdraw a medication, or reduce it in large amounts over short periods of time, without causing severe side effects or a relapse into illness.
The brain has a certain amount of plasticity, it is capable of adapting, but when you take a drug away quickly, you are disrupting the function of the brain and almost guaranteeing yourself an episode of illness.
I reduce the dose of Quetiapine no more than 6.25mg per week. That means that is the fastest I ever reduce it, and I often reduce it at a slower rate such as, -6.25mg every fortnight. A reduction from 400mg to 0mg per day is likely to take me at least two years, if not longer. This is because I need to allow my brain time to adapt to less and less of the drug. The slower I take the reduction, the more likely I am to succeed in being drug free.
There are many conditions and factors that enable me to do this. You will find out more about these conditions and the choices that I make that allow me to consider being medication free by reading my blog.
Please note: as of January 2012 the withdrawal of Quetipine ceased due to unstable mood caused by environmental stressors, and the withdrawal of a hormonal contraceptive pill that induced rapid cycling.
Update: medication withdrawal began again mid 2013 for three months (went from 300mg to 200mg). Ceased again August 2012 due to physical health concerns and the increased risk for depression. But it will begin again!