Seroquel for Anxiety: Effectiveness, Dosage and Side Effects

Anxiety is a natural response to stress that can be useful in some circumstances. It can warn us of impending threats and assist us in planning and paying attention. Worry, dread, and apprehension are all symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety may take many forms, including cognitive, psychological, and physical manifestations. On a psychological level, one may feel fearful or helpless. (1) High-functioning anxiety is sometimes accompanied by physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating, or difficulty breathing. (2)

Anxiety is an inescapable aspect of existence. However, some people encounter prolonged intervals of anxiety, which can hurt social life, professional lives, and personal growth.

Anxiety can develop into a disorder in severe cases. Anxiety disorders develop when worry and stress are both continuous and disrupting. Anxiety problems typically necessitate treatment, which can take one of two forms: psychotherapy or medication.

Several medications are used to treat or manage anxiety, each with its own set of benefits and cons. Beta-blockers, gabapentin, or Zoloft for anxiety are commonly used pharmaceuticals that are effective in treating anxiety.

Seroquel is a brand name for a kind of drug known as quetiapine. It is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. (3)

Seroquel may not be the appropriate prescription for everyone since it alters how the brain works. In addition, problems might arise due to side effects, pre-existing medical disorders, and medication interactions, so one should consult the doctor before consuming it. However, here is all you need to know before using Seroquel for anxiety.

What is Seroquel?

Seroquel is a prescription medicine used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, teenagers, and children. It is also marketed as an extended-release version of Seroquel, Seroquel XR. Seroquel is often used off-label to treat various mental diseases, including severe depression, generalized anxiety disorder, etc.

Seroquel consists of an active component called quetiapine fumarate, which belongs to a class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics. (4)

Atypical antipsychotics, commonly known as second-generation antipsychotics and serotonin–dopamine antagonists, are a class of antipsychotic drugs that are extensively used to treat mental disorders.

Atypical antipsychotics have been demonstrated to assist people with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders dealing with a range of anxiety and depression symptoms. They have since been used to treat mood and anxiety disorders. (5)

In severely disturbed or combative individuals, this class of drugs is used to relieve symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, or aberrant behavior, as well as sedative and tranquilizer effects.

It assists you in thinking more clearly and positively about yourself, feeling less anxious, and participating more actively in daily life. It may also help with mood, sleep, appetite, and vitality. Seroquel for anxiety is an effective treatment by helping you avoid severe mood swings or reduce the frequency they occur.

How does it work?

Seroquel affects a variety of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin (5HT) and dopamine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are kept in nerve cells that let nerve cells communicate with one another. (6) Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that regulate mood, behavior, thinking, and perception, among other functions. (7)

Seroquel calms and helps to reduce psychotic ideas by antagonizing dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. Its mood calming effects may be due to antagonizing dopamine and serotonin receptors. Seroquel works in the brain in two ways, by blocking dopamine or serotonin. (8)

Blocking Dopamine Receptors

Disturbances in the action of neurotransmitters in the brain, primarily dopamine, appear to be the origin of psychotic disease. Schizophrenia is linked to an excess of dopamine in the brain, which might explain the delusions and hallucinations that are common in this condition. (9) Seroquel works by preventing dopamine from binding to receptors in the brain; this helps to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, manic depression, and anxiety by preventing excessive dopamine action. (10)

Blocking Serotonin Receptors

Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter. It has a complex and varied biological role, affecting mood, cognition, reward, learning, memory, and various physiological functions. (11) Abnormal binding of serotonin, another brain signaling chemical, to the 5HT2A receptor contributes to mental diseases such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders. (12) Hence, Seroquel works by inhibiting serotonin receptors, namely 5HT2A, and prevents a range of mental conditions.

Seroquel alleviates symptoms such as hallucinations, delusional thoughts such as having erroneous views or feeling abnormally suspicious or paranoid, feeling sad, anxious, angry, aggressive, or unusually aroused, losing emotion, or withdrawing.

How to use Seroquel?

Before you start taking Seroquel, read the medication guide and the patient information leaflet issued by your pharmacist. Inquire with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.

Take this medication by mouth, generally 2 or 3 times per day, with or without food, as advised by your doctor. Take this as advised by your doctor to treat depression associated with bipolar illness, generally once daily at night.

The dose is determined by your medical condition, treatment response, and any other drugs you are taking. Make sure your doctor and pharmacist know all the medications you are using, including prescription, nonprescription, and herbal remedies. Your doctor may advise you to begin taking this medicine at a low dose and gradually raise it to avoid the chance of adverse effects. Carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations. To receive the best benefit from this drug, take it daily and take it simultaneously every day to help you remember.

Do not raise your dosage or use this medication more frequently or for longer than recommended; this will not improve your condition any sooner, and it will increase your chance of adverse effects.

Even if you feel OK, keep taking this medicine since discontinuing it suddenly might trigger withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and irritability are possible. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, you should gradually reduce your dose. Before making any changes, make sure to consult your doctor.

Dosage of Seroquel for anxiety?

Since Seroquel is used off-label to treat anxiety disorders, the manufacturer does not give standardized amounts for taking this medicine for anxiety. Therefore, if your doctor recommends Seroquel for your anxiety, you must take the medication exactly as prescribed. Before proposing a dosage, your doctor will most likely go at your medical history, the extent of your problem and symptoms, and your endurance for Seroquel.

Anxiety disorders are more typically treated with the extended-release form of medicine. The drug is released into your body in a controlled manner throughout the day using the extended-release formulation. It is usually recommended once a day, ideally before night, and comes in 50mg, 150mg, 200mg, 300mg, and 400mg.

Although you can take the immediate-release version with or without food, the extended-release version should be taken without food or a relatively light meal. According to a meta-analysis, the findings imply that 50 and 150 mg/day of Seroquel-XR effectively treats generalized anxiety disorder in adults. (13)

How long does Seroquel take to work for anxiety?

Seroquel’s maximum levels were observed 90 minutes after taking immediate-release tablets and 6 hours after taking extended-release pills. The sedative effects appear nearly immediately, but it may require two to three weeks for other symptoms to subside and up to six weeks for the overall results to appear.

Efficacy of Seroquel

Seroquel’s effectiveness in lowering positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia has been demonstrated in multiple placebo-controlled clinical studies. Seroquel is effective in treating cognitive, anxious-depressive, and aggressive symptoms in people with schizophrenia. (14)

Seroquel is linked to a lower incidence of any depressive episode or severe relapse when compared to placebo, suggesting that it is an effective therapy for bipolar II depression in the short and long term. (15)

Monotherapy with the atypical antipsychotic Seroquel is helpful for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder among military veterans, according to the findings of a recent randomized controlled trial. (16) Many studies suggest improved sleep patterns, with a decline in the frequency of nightmares and betterment in flashbacks and anxiety attacks. (17)

Seroquel is an antipsychotic medication used as adjunctive therapy for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Seroquel has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat severe depressive episodes in MDD patients. The FDA approved the medicine as an add-on treatment for individuals who had a poor response to antidepressant monotherapy. (18)

Is Seroquel addictive?

Seroquel is not appropriate for everyone. Physical and medical issues may impair the drug’s safety or efficacy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States does not consider quetiapine to be a restricted drug having the potential for abuse or dependence. However, doctors are recommended to keep an eye out for Seroquel misuse or tolerance indicators in their patients.

Withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, nausea, and vomiting may occur if Seroquel is abruptly stopped. Therefore, before quitting Seroquel, it is suggested that you get medical consultation from a healthcare expert.

Furthermore, Seroquel overdose might result in symptoms such as sleepiness, sedation, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, and so on. Therefore, if you have consumed too much Seroquel, get immediate medical attention.

Things to consider before taking Seroquel

Unfortunately, most people who use Seroquel or any other antipsychotic medication will have one or more negative effects. Nonetheless, there are strategies to reduce adverse effects. Several factors must be taken into account; If you take care of these things, adverse effects are unlikely.

Communicate with your doctor about every vital thing

If the healthcare professional providing an antipsychotic is aware of any medical issues, they can prevent adverse effects. If you have a past medical condition or are on any other medications, please notify your doctor ahead of time. When Seroquel is used with other prescription or over-the-counter medications, several adverse effects are induced or exacerbated. Keep a note of any drugs you are taking and discuss them with the doctor prescribing Seroquel.

Consume it as directed

Seroquel should be taken as directed. Doses will vary, especially at the start of therapy. One must take it daily for it to be effective.

It is vital to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor, but missing a dose is not dangerous if you know how to manage it.  Take your medicine as soon as you remember. If your next dose is coming, do not take an extra amount to compensate for the one you missed. Instead, continue with the next dose.

Avoid Alcohol

Seroquel is a sedative that produces drowsiness, dizziness, and other associated complications. Drinking exacerbates these adverse effects, increasing the likelihood of stumbling, accidents, and injuries.

Stay safe from pathway obstacles.

Falls and injuries are typical side effects of Seroquel, especially among older individuals. When administering Seroquel, doctors are suggested to do a fall risk assessment. When taking Seroquel, make sure to remove any impediments in your home that might lead to a fall. A variety of technologies can help make certain portions of the house safer.

Avoid extreme temperatures

Seroquel disrupts the body’s capacity to regulate its temperature. Stay away from the sun and extreme cold. Stay indoors where it is comfortable if the weather is too hot. Avoid exhaustion and dress accordingly for the weather.

Stay in touch with your doctor.

You may need to see a healthcare practitioner regularly, and blood and other tests may be required. Keep all of your appointments and talk with your doctor if you have any problems taking your medication. They are the first line of protection in detecting and controlling side effects before they become significant issues.

Side effects of Seroquel

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, do not take any other medications, and do not have any other health problems, you are more likely to experience side effects like confusion, headache, drowsiness, agitation, constipation, weight gain, dry mouth, and blurred vision, as well as sedation, which could impair your driving ability or operate the equipment.

Seroquel may reduce blood pressure, which can be especially visible while moving from sitting to standing, increasing the risk of falling. (19) In certain people, Seroquel might raise blood pressure. Seniors should avoid Seroquel with dementia-related psychosis since it increases their risk of mortality.

Seroquel has been linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or conducts in young people, with the risk being higher in those under the age of 25. Seroquel extended-release should not be administered to anybody under the age of eighteen.

If Seroquel is abruptly discontinued, it might induce irritation, depression, dizziness, electric shock feelings, headache, and disorientation.

Seroquel may also induce excessive blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. (20) Seroquel usage has also been linked to hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels). (21)

Seroquel’s active component, quetiapine, has a six-to-seven-hour half-life; this is how long it takes the body to clear half a dosage of quetiapine. Thus a total dose takes roughly 30 hours to eliminate. Seroquel’s most frequent adverse effects will subside within that time frame.

Many of quetiapine’s metabolic side effects, including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, underactive thyroid, and weight gain, might take several days or more to resume normal.

Seroquel can have various adverse effects not included in this list, but these side effects will fade away sometimes. However, if your side effects are causing trouble, you should consult your doctor immediately.

Interactions of Seroquel with other drugs?

Seroquel has a lot of drug interactions that might create difficulties since it affects the central nervous system. Therefore, certain medicines should never be used alongside Seroquel, but others may require dosage adjustments or close monitoring for adverse effects. The following are some of the main interactions:

  • Do not use Seroquel with the antipsychotic drugs pimozide or thioridazine because the combination increases the risk and severity of Seroquel’s most serious adverse effects.
  • The most potent CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as the antifungal medicines ketoconazole or itraconazole, may necessitate a six-fold reduction in quetiapine dosage. (22)
  • Since quetiapine can drop blood pressure, it will need to be monitored more closely when used with blood pressure medicines and diuretics.
  • Quetiapine can elevate blood sugar levels and reduce the efficacy of diabetic medications. Hence, diabetic patients should not use it.
  • Increased dopamine levels are used to treat Parkinson’s disease; however, quetiapine and other antipsychotic medicines block dopamine, limiting the effectiveness of Parkinson’s therapies and exacerbating symptoms. As a consequence, patients with this condition are not encouraged to consume Seroquel.

This is not an extensive list of drugs that may interact with Seroquel; it just contains the most frequent ones.

Who should be cautious while taking Seroquel?

  • When neonates are exposed to antipsychotics during the third trimester of pregnancy, they are more likely to have withdrawal symptoms and extrapyramidal side effects (involuntary movement issues). Therefore, pregnant women should not use Seroquel without first seeing their doctor.
  • Quetiapine has not been authorized for use in children under ten by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Seroquel can be taken at the exact dosages of younger individuals over 65, although initial doses may need to be lower and raised more slowly than in younger adults.


Seroquel is an antipsychotic medication that helps to ease and calm psychotic thoughts. Seroquel should only be used with a doctor’s prescription and should not be stopped abruptly. Seroquel should be used with caution by a particular set of persons who are more susceptible to the drug’s adverse effects.

Seroquel is an excellent therapy for various mental health issues and reduces anxiety symptoms, but it is not the only option. Individuals should take Seroquel with caution, and they may combine it with other psychotherapies or medications to increase its effectiveness, but only on the advice of a doctor.

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